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Full text of "Of the imitation of Christ, four books, the Thomas à Kempis. The 'Edith Cavell' ed., with an introd. by Herbert E. Ryle"

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XLIX 

OF THE 

IMITATION OF CHRIST 



THE 'EDITH CAVELL' EDITION 



OF THE 

IMITATION OF 
CH RIST 

FOUR BOOKS 



EY 



THOMAS A KEMPIS 



THE 'EDITH GAVELL' EDITION 

WITH AN INTRODUCTION BY 

THE RIGHT REV. BISHOP HERBERT 

E. RYLE, D.D.. C.V.O. 

Dean of Westminster 



HUMPHREY MILFORD 

OXFORD UNIVERSITY PRESS 

LOxNDON EDINBURGH GLASGOW 

NEW YORK TORONTO MELBOURNE CAPETOWN 

BOMBAY CALCUTTA AND MADRAS 



Thomas Haemmerlein (A Kempis) 
Bom: Kempen, Germany, 1380. 
Died: Zwolle, July 23, 1471. 

The first edition of ' The Imitation of Christ ' ap- 
peared in Latin in the year 1470 circ., and the 
first English translation in 1677. It was first 
published in ' The World's Classics ' in the year 
1903, and reprinted in 1906 a^id 1909 and the 
' Edith Cavell ' edition twice in 1920. 




elonging to Edith 

ng her last hours. 

le notes of the last 

rison of St.-Gilles, as 

iroughoutj are reproduced 



AJ 



TO 

QUEEN ALEXANDRA, 

TO WHOSE GRACIOUS INTEREST 
AND ENCOURAGEMENT 

THE HOMES OF REST FOR NURSES, 

ESTABLISHED 

IN MEMORY OF 

THE SUPREME SACRIFICE OF 

NURSE EDITH CAVELL, 

OWE SO MUCH. 



FOREWORD BY BISHOP RYLE 

Reader, 

You have here a rare treasure. Tliis little edition 
of the Imitation of Christ is a facsimile of the copy 
which belonged to Edith Cavell, and which she had 
with her in the prison of St.-Gilles in Brussels. Two 
months intervened between her arreston Augusts, 1915, 
and her court-martial on October 7 and 8. The cruel 
sentence of deatli was announced to her on the after- 
noon of October 11 : she was executed at 7 a.m. on 
October 12, 191.5. 

During the long lonely period of her imprisonment, 
as well as during the last three days of dreadful 
expectancy, she used this little book. You can see 
reproduced in these pages the markings that she made 
at different times against passages which she found 
especially helpful and comforting. You will find there 
are about sixty of these markings. They have been 
made at different times. The same pen is not used : 
the character of the markings varies. Sometimes the 
lines are long and thin ; sometimes short and clumsy ; 
sometimes there are two or three lines iu the margin 
of a single short sentence. 

You will find these marked passages in the following 
pages : 1, 2, .5, 7, 17, 18, 21, 22, 26, 29, 81, 85, m, 44, 
45, 49, 50, 51, 52, 54, 55, 58, 59, 60, 61, 62, 63, 71, 
72, 76, 82, 83, 86, 87, 88, 96, 100, 103, 104, 105, 108, 
110, 118, 120, 121, 122, 124, 125, 126, 135, 136, 187, 
153, 186, 191, 192, 199, 200, 201, 205. 

In a few instances, she has written the date. When 
the date is given, it is October, 1915. Evidently she 



viii FOREWORD 

was using this little book^ and finding consolation 
from it during the last days and hours of her life. 
Thus, there are two crosses in ink, and the note 
'St.-Gilles Oct. 1915', written at the head of two 
successive chapters : chap, xxix ' How we ought to 
call upon God, and to bless Him, when tribulation is 
upon us', and chap, xxx 'Of craving the Divine Aid, 
and Confidence of recovering Grace' (pp. 125, 126). 

Towards the end of the Imitation there is a section 
upon the 'Comfort of Devout Communion' (chap, 
iv, p. 198). You will see that on page 200 Edith 
Cavell has heavily marked a particular passage, and 
written against it 'St.-Gilles 11 Oct.' This was the 
day on which she was told at 4.30 p.m. that she was to 
be executed, and that she was to be shot early next 
morning. Tliat evening, for the first time since her 
arrest, she was allowed to see the English chaplain 
(she had previously only been permitted to see the 
German military chaplain : and she did not know 
German). The English chaplain gave her the Holy 
Communion at 10 p.m. 

How full of sacred tenderness, then, is the confession 
she has marked : ' I indeed labour in the sweat of my 
brows. I am racked with grief of heart, I am burdened 
with sins, I am troubled with temptations, I am en- 
tangled and oppressed with many evil passions ; and 
tliere is none to help me, none to deliver and save me, 
but Thou O Lord God my Saviour, to whom I commit 
myself and all that is mine, that Thou mayest keep 
watch over me, and bring me safe to life everlasting ' 
(p. 200). 

On page 205, in the chapter on ' Self-Examiiiation 
before Communion ', she marked these two sentences: 



FOREWORD ix 

' Then with full resignation and with thy entire will^ 
offer up thyself to the honour of My Name, on the 
altar of thy heart, a perpetual whole burnt offering, - 
even thy body and soul, faithfully committing them 
unto Me.' 

' And when a man shall have done what lieth in him, 
and shall be truly penitent^ how often soever he shall 
come to Me for pardon and grace, " as 1 live", saith 
the Lord, " who will not the death of a sinner, but "^ 
rather that he be converted and live, I will not 
remember his sins any more, but they shall all be for- 
given him." ' 

In connexion with these marked passages we read 
with intense interest the official report by Mr. Gahan, 
British chaplain in Brussels : 

'On Monday evening, October 11, I was admitted 
by special passport from the German authorities to the 
prison of St.-Gilles, where Miss Edith Cavell had been 
confined for ten weeks. The final sentence had been 
given early that afternoon. 

' To my astonishment and relief I found my friend ' 
perfectly calm and resigned. But this could not lessen \^ 
the tenderness and intensity of feeling on either part 
during that last interview of almost an hour. 

' Her first words to me were upon a matter concern- 
ing herself personally, but the solemn asseveration 
which accompanied them was made expressedly in the 
light of God and eternity. She then added that she 
wished all her friends to know that she willingly gave 
her life for her country, and said : " I have no fear nor 
shrinking ; I have seen death so often that it is not 
strange or fearful to me." She further said : " I thank 
God for this ten weeks' quiet before the end." " Life 



X FOREWORD 

has always been hurried and full of difficulty." " This 
time of rest has been a great mercy." "They have all 
been very kind to me here. But this I would say, 
standing as I do in view of God and eternity : I realize 
that patriotism is not enough. I must have no hatred 
or bitterness toward any one." 

' We partook of tlie Holy Communion togetlier^, and 
she received the Gospel message of consolation with 
all her heart. At the close of the little service I began 
to repeat the words " Abide with me " , and she joined 
softly in the end. 

' V^'e sat quietly talking until it was time for me to 
go. She gave me parting messages for relations and 
friends. She spoke of her soul's needs at the moment, 
and she received the assurance of God's Word as only 
the Christian can do. 

' Then I said " Good-bye "^ and she smiled and said, 
" We shall meet again ". 

' The German military chaplain was with her at the 
end and afterwards gave her Christian burial. He told 
me : " She was brave and briglit to the last. She 
professed her Christian faith and that she was glad to 
die for her country." " She died like a heroine." 
' H. Stirling T. Gahan, 

^British Chaplain, Brussels.'' 

Of the other passages which she has marked, it may 
be noticed that she evidently was keenly conscious of 
the evil done by indiscreet speech and idle gossip. One 

^ Belgium under German Occupation, by Brand Whit- 
lock, vol. ii, p. 40. Heinemann, 1919. This and the 
other passages here quoted from the same book are 
reprinted by kind permission of Mr. William Heinemann, 
the publisher. 



FOREWORD xi 

rumour was current to the effect that her arrest was 
due to the repetition by thoughtless friends of words 
which she had spoken in confidence. At the court- 
martial her entire truthfulness and her frank admission 
of wliat she had done for her countrymen and for 
Belgians furnished the German military authorities 
with the most serious charges against her. Notice 
then the emphasis with which she has marked such 
passages as tliese : 

' O God, who art the truth, make me one with Thee 
in everlasting charity ' (p. 5). 

' Often take counsel in temptations, and deal not 
roughly with him that is tempted ; but give him 
comfort, as thou wouldest wish to be done to thyself 
(p. 17). 

' No man speaks securely, but he that holds his peace 
willingly' (p. 29). 

' It were more just that thou shouldest accuse thyself^ 
and excuse thy brother ' [conspicuously marked in 
the margin, ' St.-Gilles ' (p. 54)]. 

' It is no small prudence to keep silence in an evil 
time, and inwardly to turn thyself to Me, and not to be 
troubled by the judgment of men. Let not thy peace 
be in the tongues of men ; for whether they interpret 
well or ill of thee thou art not therefore another man ' 
(p. 124). 

W& should compare with these passages the words 
(translated from her own French) in the farewell letter 
she wrote on October 10, 1915, to the members of the 
Training School for Nurses in Brussels, of which she had 
been the head and organizer since September 17, 1907. 

^ ... To my regret I have not been able always to 
speak very much with you personally ; you know that 



xii FOREWORD 

I have had a good many occupations, but I hope that 
you will not forget our evening chats. I told you 
that devotion would give you real happiness and the 
thought that before God and yourselves you have done 
j'our entire duty with a good heart will be your greatest 
comfort in the hard moments of life and in the face of 
death. 

'There are two or three of you who will recall the 
little interviews that we have had together ; do not 
forget them. Being already so far along in life, I have 
been able perhaps to see more clearly than you and to 
show you the straight path. One word more. Beware 
of gossip ! And may J say to you loving your country 
with all my heart that that is the great fault here? 
I have seen so much evil during these eight years that 
could have been avoided or lessened if there had not 
been a little word whispered here and there, perhaps 
not with malicious intention but it ruined the reputa- 
tion and happiness, even the life of some one. My 
nurses should think of that and cultivate among them- 
selves loyalty and esprit de corps. 

' If there is one among you whom I have wronged, 
I beg you to forgive me ; I have been perhaps too 
severe sometimes, but never voluntarily unjust, and 
I have loved you all much more than you thought. 

'^My best wishes for the happiness of all my girls, 
those who have left the school as well as those who are 
there still, and thank you for the kindness that you 
have always shown me. 

' Your devoted directress, 

Oct. 10,1915, "^ Edith Cavell.' 

Prison of St.-Gilles.' 

1 Whitlack, ibid. , vol. ii, p. 44. 



FORE^VORD xiii 

It only remains to call attention to a few other 
passages which seem more especially to have appealed 
to her. 

' Occasions of adversity best discover how great virtue 
or strength each one hath. For occasions do not make 
a man frailj but they shew what he is ' (p. 22). 

'Thou must pass through fire and water before thou 
come to the place of refreshing ' (p. 36). 

' Put all thy trust in God^ let Him be thy feai'^ and 
thy love : He shall answer for thee^ and will do in all 
things what is best for thee' (p. 50). 

' To glory in tribulation, is no hard thing for him 
that loveth ; for so to glory, is to glory in the Cross of 
the Lord ' (p. 58). 

' Be thou humble and peaceable, and Jesus will be 
with thee. Be devout and quiet, and Jesus will stay 
with thee' (p. 61). 

' That ... I may be made fit to love, courageous to 
suffer, steady to persevere' (p. 83). 

' My son, cast thy heart firmly on the Lord, and fear 
not the judgment of men, when conscience testifieth 
of thy dutifulness and innocency' (p. 137). 

No more wonderful national tribute liJis ever been 
paid than that which was paid to Edith Cavell on the 
occasion of the great funeral service on May 15, 1919, 
in M'estminster Abbey. The streets leading to the 
Abbey were lined by dense masses of people, bare- 
headed, silent, reverent. The little cortege consisted 
of the gun-carriage bearing the cofl[iu covered with the 
Union Jack, and escorted by a single oflScer and 
a company of Grenadier Guards, 'Windows, roofs, 
parapets, were thronged with people. The Abbey 
itself was filled from end to end more tlian half an 



xiv FOREWORD 

hour before the service began. Queen Alexandra was 
there as Patron of the Edith Cavell Homes of Rest for 
Nurses. Every nursing institution in the kingdom 
seemed to have representatives. Every part of the 
British Empire had sent contingents. 

The journey to Norwich, where the remains were 
interred, called forth a no less remarkable demon- 
stration. The special train was greeted by throngs 
who stood in the stations. School children crowded 
together at the level crossings to watch it pass. Men 
in khaki stood at attention. Workmen in the fields 
doffed their caps. All East Anglia seemed determined 
to do homage to the quiet, brave, devoted woman who 
had willingly died for her country, and whose body 
was to be laid to i-est in the peaceful precincts of 
the Cathedral of Norwich. 

She had been cruelly put to death. Hers was one 
of the great resolute sacrifices of the war. Her name 
will live in history. God heard her prayer, and gave 
her ' strength to resist, patience to endure, and con- 
stancy to persevere' (p. 121). 

The time will come when people will ask, Who was 
Edith Cavell.'^ and, Why was she put to death .^ All 
can now answer such inquiries. ^ But memories are 
short : and the younger generation will quickly grow 
up, and will not have heard who she was, or what she 
did, or why she suffered. 

I therefore subjoin two extracts from the important 
contemporary book Belgium under German Occupation 
(see note, page x) by His Excellency Brand AVhitlock, 
United States Minister in Belgium, and resident in 



FOREWORD 



XV 



Brussels from the beginning- of the Great War in 
August 1914 until April 1917. 

' Edith Cavell herself did not expect such a fate. 
She was a frail and delicate little woman about forty 
years of age. She had come to Brussels some years 
before to exercise her calling as a trained nurse^ and 
soon became known to the leading physicians of the 
capital and nursed in the homes of the leading families. 
But she was ambitious and devoted to her profession, 
and ere long had entered a nursing-home in the Rue 
de la Clinique, where she organized for Dr. Depage 
a training school for nurses. She was a woman of 
refinement and education ; she knew French well ; she 
was deeply religious, with a conscience almost Puritan, 
and was very stern with herself in what she conceived 
to be her duty. In her training school she showed 
great executive ability, was firm in matters of discipline, 
and brought it to a high state of efficiency. And 
every one who knew her in Brussels spoke of her with 
that unvarying respect which her noble character 
inspired' (vol. ii, p. 10). 

' Miss Cavell did not know, or knew only in the 
vaguest manner, the offence with which she was 
charged. No written statement of it had ever been 
delivered to her, no written statement of it had ever 
been given to her attorney, and it is a pathetic ciixum- 
stance that it was her own honesty and frankness, her 
own direct English way of thinking, that convicted her. 
^V^itb the naivete of the pure in heart she assumed that 
the Germans were charging her with the deeds that 
she had committed, and these she readily admitted, and 
even signed a paper to that effect. We know enough 
to be able to say that Miss Cavell did not deny having 



xvi FOREWORD 

received at her hospital English soldiers, whom she 
nursed and to whom she gave money ; she did not 
deny that she knew they were going to try to cross 
the border into Holland. She even took a patriotic 
pride in the fact. She was interrogated in German, 
a language she did not understand, but the questions 
and responses were translated into French. Her mind 
was alert, she was entirely calm and self-possessed, 
and frequently rectified inexact details in the state- 
ments that were put to her. When, in her interro- 
gatory, she was asked if she had not aided English 
soldiers left behind after the early battles of the 
preceding autumn about Mons and Charleroi, she said 
yes ; they were English and she was English, and ghe 
would help her own. The answer seemed to impress the 
court. They asked her if she had not helped twenty. 

'"Yes," she said, " more than twenty ; two hundred." 

' " English } " 

'"No, not all English ; French and Belgians too." 

But the French and Belgians were not of her own 
nationality, said the judge and that made, a serious 
difference. She was .^ubjected to a nagging interro- 
gatory. One of the judges said that she had been 
foolish to aid English soldiers, because the English are 
ungrateful. 

' " No," replied Miss Cavell, " the English are not 
ungrateful." 

' " How do you know they are not ? " asked the 
inquisitor. 

' " Because ", she answered, " some of them have 
written to me from England to thank me." 

' It was a fatal admission on the part of the tortured 
little woman ; under the German military law her 



FOREVFORD xvii 

having helped soldiers to reach Holland, a neutral 
country, would have been a less serious offence, but to 
aid them to reach an enemy country, and especially 
England, was the last offence in the eyes of a German 
military court.' ^ 

It only remains for me to explain how this book 
comes to be published. It appears that in her last 
moments Edith Cavell desired that her precious little 
copy of the Imitation should after her death be sent to 
her favourite cousin, Mr. E. D. Cavell. That gentle- 
man never received it until October 1918, three years 
later, and then through the kindly and considerate 
action of the American Embassy. 

To Mr. Cavell she had written, on March 11, 1915, 
the last letter of hers which was to reach England. 
She speaks in it of the time long ago when they were 
children: ^We were young', she says, "^ and life was 
fresh and beautiful, and the country so desirable and 
sweet.' She speaks of her mother: ''The last letter 
from my Mother was date 22nd Jan. If this reaches 
you, will you send her a line to say all is well here } 
She is naturally very anxious, and I do not know 
whether she gets my letters. There are not many 
opportunities of sending.' 

She spent part of the last evening of her life in 
writing to her mother. Tlie German authorities 
refused to allow the letter to be sent. Mrs. Cavell 
passed away without having heard more than that her 
daughter had been executed at Brussels by the German 
military government. 

Mr. E. D. Cavell courteously writes to me in the 
1 Whitlock, ibid., vol. ii, pp. 11-13. 



xviii FOREWORD 

following terms ; ' My object in allowing the publica- 
tion of my Cousin's book is to increase the circulation 
of the writings of Thomas a Kempis and to assist the 
Homes of Rest by the proceeds of the sale.' 

Reader, let us once more turn to the pages of the 
Imitation, and once more ponder over the sweet secret 
of a holy humble life, spent in the Saviour's service. 
This copy is fragrant with the prayer of a good 
English woman, lonely, in sore trouble, and with 
violent death imminent. May we find what Editli 
Cavell here found, the unspeakable comfort of the 
Divine Love of the Crucified Christ, commended and 
assured to us in the tender simple sentences of this 
most famous and precious book of Christian Devotion ! 

HERBERT E. RYLE, 

Bishop. 
The Deanery, 

Westminster. 
Armistice Day, November 11, 1919. 



CONTENTS 

THE FIRST BOOK 

ADMONITIONS, USEFUL FOR A SPIRITUAL LIFE 

CHAP. Vi.Q,Tt 

I. Of the Imitation of Christ, and Contempt of 

all the vanities of the World ... 1 

II. Of the Humble Conceit of Ourselves . . 3 

III. Of the Doctrine of Truth .... 4 

IV. Of Wisdom and Forethought in our Actions . 7 
V. Of the Reading of the Holy Scriptures . . 8 

VI. Of Inordinate Affections .... 9 

VII. Of flying Vain Hope and Pride ... 9 

VIII. That too much Familiarity is to be shunned 11 

IX. Of Obedience and Subjection . . . .11 

X. Of avoiding Superfluity in Words . . . 12 

XL Of the obtaining of Peace, and Zealous Desire 

of Progress in Grace 13 

XII. Of the Profit of Adversity .... 15 

XIII. Of resisting Temptation ..... 16 

XIV. Of avoiding Hash Judgment . . . .19 
XV. Of Works done in Charity . . , . 20 

XVI. Of bearing with the Defects of Others . . 21 

XVII. Of a Retired Life 22 

XVIIL Of the Examples of the Holy Fathers . . 23 



xxii CONTENTS 

CHAP. PAOB 

XIX, Of the Exercises of a good Eeligious Persnn 25 

XX. Of the Love of Solitude and Silence . . 28 

XXI. Of Compunction of Heart .... 82 

XXII. Of the Consideration of Human Misery . 34 

XXIII. Of Meditation on Death .... 37 

XXIV. Of Judgment, and the Punishment of Sinners 40 
XXV. Of the Zealous Amendment of our whole 

Life 44 

THE SECOND BOOK 
ADMONITIONS TENDING TO THINGS INTERNAL 

I. Of the Inward Life 49 

II. Of Humble Submission .... 52 

III. Of a Good Peaceable Man .... 53 

IV. Of a Pure Mind, and Simple Intention , 55 
V. Of the Consideration of One's Self . . 56 

VI, Of the Joy of a Good Conscience ... 57 

VII. Of the Love of Jesds above All Things . 59 

VIII. Of Familiar Converse with Jesus . , 60 

IX. Of the Want of all Comfort , . . .63 

X. Of Gratitude for the Grace of God . . 66 

XI. How Few are the Lovers of the Cross of Jesus 68 

XII. Of the King's High Way of the Holy Cross 70 

THE THIRD BOOK 

OF INTERNAL CONSOLATION 

I. Of Christ's speaking inwardly to the Faithful 

Soul 76 

II. That the Truth speaketh inwardly without 

Noise of Words 77 



CONTENTS xxiii 

Oi'AP. PAGB 

III. That the Words of God are to be heard with 

Humility, and that many weigh them not 78 

IV. That we ought to live in Truth and Humility 

before God 81 

V. Of the Wonderfal Effect of Divine Love . 83 
VI. Of the Proof of a True Lover [of Christ] . 86 
VII. Of concealing Grace under the guard of 

Humility 88 

VIII. Of a Mean Conceit of Ourselves in the Sight 

of God 90 

IX. That all things are to be referred unto God, 

as their Last End . . ... .92 

X. That to despise the World and serve God is 

a Sweet Life 93 

XI. That the Longings and Desires of our Hearts 

are to be examined and moderated . . 95 
XII. Of the Growth of Patience in the Soul, and 

of striving against Concupiscence . . 96 

XIII. Of the Obedience of one in Humble Subjec- 

tion, after the Example of Jesus Christ , 98 

XIV. Of the Duty of considering the Secret Judg- 

ments of God, that so we be not lifted up 

for any thing good in us . . . . 100 
XV. In every thing which we desire, how we 

ought to stand affected, and what we 

ought to say 101 

XVI. That True Comfort is to be sought in God 

alone ....... 103 

XVII. That all our Anxieties are to be placed on 

God 104 

XVIII. That Temporal Miseries must be borne 

patiently, after the Example of Christ . 106 



xxn' CONTENTS 

CHAP. PAGE 

XIX. Of the Endurance of Injuries, and of 

the Proof of True Patience . . . 107 
XX. Of the Acknowledging of our own 
Infirmities; and of the Miseries of 

this Life 109 

XXI. That we are to Rest in God above all 
Things which are Good, and above all 

His own Gifts Ill 

XXII. Of the Remembrance of God's Manifold 

Benefits . . . . . .114 

XXIII. Of Four Things that bring much Inward 

Peace 116 

XXIV. Of avoiding Curious Enquiry into other 

Men's Lives 118 

XXV. Wherein firm Peace of Heart and true 

Spiritual Progress consisteth . .119 
XXVI. Of the Excellency of a Free Mind, 
which is sooner gained by Humble 
Prayer than by Reading . . .121 
XXVII. That it is Private Love which most 

hindereth from the Chief est Good . 122 
XXVIII. Against the Tongues of Slanderers . . 124 
XXIX. How we ought to call upon God, and to 

bless Him, when Tribulation is upon us 125 
XXX. Of craving the Divine Aid, and Con- 
fidence of recovering Grace . . . 126 
XXXI. Of the Contempt of All Creatures to find 

out the Creator 128 

XXXII. Of Self-Denial, and Renouncing every 

Evil Appetite 131 

XXXIII. Of Inconstancy of Heart, and of having 
our Final Intentions directed unto 
God 132 



CONTENTS XXV 

CHAP. PAQS 

XXXIV. That God is Sweet above All Things, 
and in All Things, to him that loveth 

Him 133 

XXXV. That there is no Security from Tempta- 
tion in this Life 135 

XXXVI. Against the Vain Judgments of Men . 137 
XXXVII. Of Pure and Entire Kesignation of 
Ourselves, for the obtaining Freedom 

of Heart 138 

XXXVIII. Of Good Government in Things External, 
and of having Kecourse to God in 

Dangers 140 

XXXIX. That a Man should not be Fretful in 

Matters of Business .... 141 
XL. That a Man hath no Good of Himself, 

nor Any Thing whereof he can glory . 142 

XLI. Of the Contempt of all Temporal Honour 144 

XLII. That our Peace is not to be set on Men . 145 

XLIII. Against Vain and Secular Knowledge . 146 

XLIV. Of not fetching Trouble to Ourselves 

from Outward Things .... 148 
XLV. That Credit is not to be given to All, 
and that Man is prone to offend in 

Words 149 

XL VI. Of putting our Trust in God when Evil 

"Words arise 151 

XLVII. That all Grievous Things are to be 

endured for the sake of Eternal Life 154 
XLVIII. Of the Day of Eternity, and this Life's 

Straitnesses 155 

XLIX. Of the Desire of Everlasting Life, and 
how great Rewards are promised to 
those that strive resolutely , .158 



XXM 

CHAT. 
L. 



CONTENTS 



Kow a Desolate Person 

Himself into the Hands of God 



ought 



to offer 



PA.0 



16'. 



LI. That a Man ought to employ himself in 
Works of Humility, when strength is 
wanting for Higher Employments . . 16.' 

Ln. That a Man ought not to account himself as 
worthy of Comfort, but rather as deserv- 
ing of Chastisement 16( 

LIII. That the Grace of God doth not join itself 

with those who relish Earthly Things . 165 

LIV. Of the Different Motions of Nature and 

Grace 17( 

LV. Of the Corruption of Nature, and EflScacy 

of Divine Grace 175 

LVI. That we ought to Deny Ourselves and 

Imitate Christ by the Cross . . . 17( 
LVII. That a Man should not be too much Dejected, 

even when he falleth into some Defects . 17} 

LVni. That High Matters and God's Secret Judg- 
ments are not to be narrowly enquired 
into 181 

LIX. That all our Hope and Trust is to be fixed 

in God alone 18' 



THE FOURTH BOOK 

CONCERNING THE SACRAMENT 

A Devout Exhortation to the Holy Com- 
munion ....... IS' 

L With how Great Reverence Christ ought to 

be received ..<,... 18 



CONTENTS xxvii 

CHAP PAOI 

II. That tlje great Goodness and Love of God 

is exhibited to Man in this Sacrament 193 

lU. That it is profitable to Communicate often . 196 
IV. That many Benefits are bestowed upon them 

that Communicate Devoutly . . . 198 
V. Of the Dignity of this Sacrament, and of the 

Ministerial Function .... 201 
VI. An Enquiry concerning Spiritual Exercise 

before Communion . . . . . 208 
VII. Of thoroughly Searching our own Conscience, 

and of Holy Purposes of Amendment . 203 
VIII. Of the Oblation of Christ on the Cross, and 

of Kesignation of Ourselves , . 206 

IX, That we ought to Offer up Ourselves and all 

that is Ours unto God, and to pray for All 207 
X. That the Holy Communion is not lightly to 

be forborne ...-., 209 
XI. That the Body and Blood of Christ and the 
Holy Scriptures are most necessary unto 

a Faithful Soul 212 

XII. That He who is about to Communicate with 
Christ ought to Prepare Himself with 

great Diligence 216 

XIII That the Devout Soul ought with the 
whole Heart to seek Union with Christ in 

the Sacrament 218 

XIV. Of the Fervent Desire of some Devout 
Persons to receive the Body and Blood 

of Christ 220 

XV That the Grace of Devotion is obtained by 

HumiUty and Denial of Ourselves . . 222 
XVI. That we ought to lay open our Necessities 

to Christ, and to crave His Grace , . 224 



xxviii CONTENTS 

CHAP. PA, 

XVII. Of Fervent Love, and Vehement Desire to 

receive Christ 2 



SVIIl. That a Man should not be a Curious 
Searcher into the Holy Sacrament, but 
an Humble Follower of Christ, submitting 
his Sense to Divine Faith , . * . 2i 



OF THE IMITATION OF 
CHRIST 

THE FIRST BOOK 

ADMONITIONS, USEFUL FOB A SPIRITUAL LIFE 

CHAPTER 1 

OP THE IMITATION OF CHRIST, AND CONTEMPT OF ALL 
THE VANITIES OF THE WORLD 

' He that followeth Me, walketh not in darkness,' ^ 
saith the Lord. These are the words of Christ, by which 
we are admonished how we ought to imitate His life and 
manners, if we will be truly enlightened, and be de- 
livered from all blindness of heart. 

Let therefore our chiefest endeavour be, to meditate 
upon the life of Jesus Christ. 

II. The doctrine of Christ exceedeth all the doctrines 
of holy men ; and he that hath the Spirit, will find 
therein an hidden manna. 

But it falleth out, that many who often hear the 
Gospel of Christ, are yet but little affected, because 
they are void of the Spirit of Christ. 

But whosoever would fully and feelingly understand 
the words of Christ, must endeavour to conform his life 
wholly to the life of Christ. 

III. What will it avail thee to dispute profoundly of 
the Trinity, if thou be void of humility, and art therebv 
displeasing to the Trinity.'' 

> John viii. [12]. 



2 OF THE IMITATION OF CHRIST 

Surely high words do not make a man holy and just ; 
but a virtuous life maketh him dear to God. 

I had rather feel compunction, than understand the 
definition thereof. 

If thou didst know the whole Bible by heart, and the 
sayings of all the philosophers, what would all that 
profit thee without the love of God * and without 
grace ? 

Vanity of vanities, and all is vanity,* except to love 
God, and to serve Him only. 

This is the highest wisdom, by contempt of the world 
to tend towards the kingdom of Heaven. 

IV. Vanity therefore it is to seek after perishing 
riches, and to trust in them. 

It is also vanity to hunt after honours, and to climb 
to liigh degree. 

It is vanity to follow the desires of the flesh, and to 
labour for that for which thou must afterwards suffer 
grievous punishment. 
I Vanity it is, to wish to live long, and to be careless to 
' live well. 

It is vanity to mind only this present life, and not to 
foresee those things which are to come. 

It is vanity to set thy love on that which speedily 
passeth away, and not to hasten thither where ever- 
lasting joy abideth. 

V. Call often to mind that proverb, ' The eye is not 
satisfied with seeing, nor the ear filled with hearing.' ^ 

Endeavour therefore to withdraw thy heart from 
the love of visible things, and to turn thyself to the 
invisible. 

For they that follow their sensuality, do stain their 
own consciences, and lose the favour of God. 

1 1 Cor.xiii. [2]. Eccles. i. [2]. Eccles. i. [8]. 



OF THE HUMBLE CONCEIT OF OURSELVES 3 
CHAPTER II 

OF THE HUMBLE CONCEIT OF OURSELVES 

All men naturally desire to know ; i but what availeth 
knowledge without the fear of God ? 

Surely, an humble husbandman that serveth God is 
better than a proud philosopher that neglecting himself 
laboureth to understand the course of the heavens. 

Whoso knoweth himself well, groweth more mean in 
his own conceit, and delighteth not in the praises of 
men. 

If 1 understood all things in the world, and were not 
in charity, what would that help me in the sight of God, 
who will judge me according to my deeds.'' 

II. Cease from an inordinate desire of knowing, for 
therein is much distraction and deceit. 

The learned are well-pleased to seem so to others, 
and to be accounted wise.^ 

There be many things, which to know doth little or 
nothing profit the soul : 

And he is very unwise, that is intent upon other 
things than those that may avail him for his salvation. 

Many words do not satisfy the soul ; but a good life 
comforteth the mind, and a pure conscience giveth great 
assurance in the sight of God. 

III. How much the more thou knowest, and how much 
the better thou understandest, so much the more 
grievously shalt thou therefore be judged, unless thy 
life be also more holy. 

Be not therefore extolled in thine own mind for any 
art or science, but rather let the knowledge given thee, 
make thee more humble and cautious. 

If thou thinkest that thou understandest and knowest 
much ; know also that there be many things more which 
thou knowest not. 

Eccles. i. [13] ; Arist. Met. I. 1. 1 C!or. viiL [1> 



4 OF THE IMITATION OF CHRIST 

Affect not to be overwise, but rather acknowledge 
thine own ignorance.^ 

Why wilt thou prefer thyself before others, sith there 
be many more learned, and more skilful in the Scripture 
than thou art ? 

If thou wilt know or learn anything profitably, desire 
to be unknown, and to be little esteemed. 

IV. The highest and most profitable reading, is the 
true knowledge and consideration of ourselves. 

It is great wisdom and perfection to esteem nothing 
of ourselves, and to think always well and highly of 
others. 

If thou shouldest see another openly sin, or commit 
some heinous offence, yet o ugh test thou not to esteem 
the better of thyself ; for thou knowest not how long 
thou shalt be able to remain in good estate. 

We are all frail, ^ but thou oughtest to esteem none 
more frail than thyself. 



CHAPTER III 

OF THE DOCTRINE OF TRUTH 

Happy is he whom truth by itself doth teach,^ not by 
figures and words that pass away ; but as it is in itself. 

Our own opinion and our own sense do often deceive 
us, and they discern but little. 

What availeth it to cavil and dispute much about 
dark and hidden things ; * whereas for being ignorant 
of them we shall not be so much as reproved at the day 
of judgment.'' 

It is a great folly to neglect the things that are 
profitable and necessary, and give our minds to that 
which is curious and hurtful : we have eyes and see not.^ 

II. And what have we to do with geiius a,nd species, 
the dry notions of logicians .'' 

1 Rom. xii. [16]. ^ Qen. viii. [21], ' Psalm xciv. [12]. 

Eccles. iii. [9-11]. Psalm cxv. [5], 



OF THE DOCTRINE OF TRUTH 6 

He to whom the Eternal Word speaketh, is delivered 
from a world of unnecessary conceptions. 

From that one ^V^ord are all things^ and all speak that 
one ; and this is the Beginning, which also speaketh 
unto us. 

No man without that Word understandeth orjudgeth 
rightly. 

He to whom all things are one, he who reduceth all 
things to one, and seeth all things in one ; may enjoy 
a quiet mind, and remain peaceable in God. 

O God, who art the truth, make me one with Tliee I 
in everlasting charity. I 

It is tedious to me often to read and hear many 
things : In Thee is all that 1 would have and can 
desire. 

Let all doctors hold their peace ; let all creatures be 
silent in Thy sight ; speak Thou alone unto me. 

III. The more a man is united within himself, and 
becometh inwardly simple and pure, so much the 
more and higher things doth he understand without 
labour ; for that he receiveth intellectual light from 
above. 

A pure, sincere, and stable spirit is not distracted, 
though it be employed in many works ; for that it 
works all to the honour of God, and inwardly being 
still and quiet, seeks not itself in any thing it doth. 

\V^ho hinders and troubles thee more than the un- 
mortified affections of thine own heart ? 

A good and godly man disposeth within himself 
beforehand those things which he is outwardly to act ; 

Neither do they draw him according to the desires 
of an inordinate inclination, but he ordereth them 
according to the prescript of right reason. 

I Who hath a greater combat .than he that laboureth 
to overcome himself ."^ 

This ought to be our endeavour, to conquer ourselves, 
and daily to wax stronger, and to make a further 
growth in holiness. 

IV. All perfection in this life hath some imperfection 

I Matt. xi. [25] ; Luke x. [21]. 



6 OF THE IMITATION OF CHRIST 

mixed with it ; and no knowledge of ours is without 
some darkness. 

An humble knowledge of thyself is a surer way to 
God than a deep search after learning ; 

Yet learning is not to be blamed, nor the mere 
knowledge of any thing whatsoever to be disliked, it 
being good in itself, and ordained by God ; but a 
good conscience and a virtuous life is always to be 
preferred before it. 

But because many endeavour rather to get know- 
ledge than to live well ; therefore they are often 
deceived, and reap either none, or but little fruit. 

V, O, if men bestowed as much labour in the rooting 
out of vices, and planting of virtues, as they do in 
moving of questions, neither would there so much 
hurt be done, nor so great scandal be given in the 
world, nor so much looseness be practised in Religious 
Houses. 

Truly, at the day of judgment we shall not be 
examined what we have read, but what we have done ; * 
not how well we have spoken, but how religiously we 
have lived. 

Tell me now, where are all those Doctors and 
Masters, with whom thou wast well acquainted, whilst 
they lived and flourished in learning .^ 

Now others possess their livings and perhaps do 
scarce ever think of them. In their lifetime they 
seemed something, but now they are not spoken of. 

VI. O, how quickly doth the glory of the world 
pass away ! ^ O that their life had been answerable to 
their learning ! then had their study and reading been 
to good purpose. 

How many perish by reason of vain learning^ in this 
world, who take little care of the serving of God : 

And because they rather choose to be great than 
humble, therefore they become vain in their imagina- 
tions.'* 

Matt. XXV. ' Eccles. ii. [11]. Tit. 1. [10]. 

Eom. i. [21]. 



OF WISDOM AND FORETHOUGHT 7 

He is truly great, that is great in charity. 

He is truly great, that is little in himself, and that 
niaketh no account of any height of honour. ^ 

He is truly wise, that accounteth all earthly things 
as dung, that he may gain Christ. ^ 

And he is truly learned, that doeth the will of Goi. 
and forsaketh his own will. 



CHAPTER IV 

OF WISDOM AND FORETHOUGHT IN OUR ACTIONS 

We must not give ear to every saying or suggestiou,^ 
but ought warily and leisurely to ponder things ac- 
cording to the will of God. 

But alas ; such is our weakness, that we often rather 
believe and speak evil of others than good. 

Those that are perfect men do not easily give credit 
to every thing one tells them ; for they know that 
human frailty is prone to evil,^ and very subject to fail 
in words. ^ 

II. It is great wisdom not to be rash in thy proceed- 
ings,'^ nor to stand stiffly in thine own conceits ; 

As also not to believe every thing which thou hearest, 
nor presently to relate again to others '' what thou hast 
heard or dost believe. 

Consult with him that is wise and conscientious, and 
seek to be instructed by a better than thyself, rather 
than to follow thine own inventions.* 

A good life maketh a man wise according to God,* 
and giveth him experience in many things, i*^ 

The more humble a man is in himself, and the more 
subject unto God ; so much the more prudent shall he 
be in all his affairs, and enjoy greater peace and quiet 
of heart. 



1 Matt, xviii. [4] ; xxiii. [11]. ' Phil. iii. [8]. 

1 John iv. [ij. * Gen. viii. [21]. James iii. [2]. 

Prov. xix. [2] . ' Prov. xvii. [9]. * Prov. xii. [16]. 



8 OF THE IMITATION OF CHRIST 

CHAPTER V 

OF THE READING OF HOLY SCRIPTURES 

Truth^ not eloquence, is to be sought for in Holy 
Scripture. 

Each part of the Scripture is to be read with th 
same Spirit wherewith it was written.^ 

We should rather search after our spiritual profit in 
the Scriptures, than subtilty of speech. 

We ought to read plain and devout books as willingly 
as high and profound. 

Let not the authority of the writer oiFend thee, 
whether he be of great or small learning ; but let the 
love of pure truth draw thee to read.^ 

Search not who spoke this or that, but mark what is 
spoken. 

II. Men pass away, but the truth of the Lord re- 
maineth for ever.^ God speaks unto us sundry ways 
without respect of persons.* 

Our own curiosity often hindereth us in reading 
of the Scriptures, when as we will examine and 
discuss that which we should rather pass over without 
more ado. 

If thou desire to reap profit, read with humility, 
simplicity, and faithfulness ; nor ever desire the 
estimation of learning. 

Enquire willingly, and hear with silence the words 
of holy men ; dislike not the parables of the Elders, 
for they are not recounted without cause.* 

Rom. XV. [4]. 2 1 Cor. ii. [4]. 
' Psalm cxvii. [2] ; Luke xxi. [331. 

* Rom. ii. [11]: X. [12] ; Col. iii. [11]. 
Prov. i. [G] ; Eccles. xii. [9j. 



OF FLYING VAIN HOPE AND PRIDE 9 
CHAPTER VI 

OF INORDINATE AFFECTIONS 

Whensoever a man desireth any thing inordinately, he 
is presently disquieted in himself. 

The proud and covetous can never rest. Tlie poor 
and humble in spirit live together in all peace. 

Tlie man that is not yet perfectly dead to himself, is 
quickly tempted and overcome in small and trifling 
things. 

The weak in spirit, and he that is yet in a manner 
carnal and prone to sensible things, can hardly with- 
draw himself altogether from earthly desires : 

And therefore he is often afflicted, when he goeth 
about to withdraw himself from them ; and easily 
falleth into indignation, when any opposition is made 
against him. 

II. And if he hath followed therein his appetite, he 
is presently disquieted with remorse of conscience ; 
for that he yielded to his passion, which profiteth him 
nothing to the obtaining of the peace he sought for. 

True quietness of heart therefore is gotten by resist 
ing our passions, not by obeying them. 

There is then no peace in the heart of a carnal man, 
nor in him that is addicted to outward things, but in 
the spiritual and fervent man. 



CHAPTER ^'II 

OP FLYING VAIN HOPE AND PRIDH 

He is vain that putteth his trust in man,' or creatures. 
Be not ashamed to serve others for the love of Jesus 
Christ ; nor to be esteemed poor in this world. 
' Jer. xvii. [5]. 



10 OF THE IMITATION OF CHRIST 

Presume not upon thyself, but place thy hope in 
God.i 

Do what lieth in thy power and God will assist thy 
good affection. 

Trust not in thine own knowledge,^ nor in the 
subtilty of any living creature ; but rather in the 
grace of God, who helpeth the humble, and humbleth 
those that are proud. 

II. Glory not in wealth if thou have it, nor in 
friends because potent ; bat in God who giveth all 
things, and above all desireth to give thee Himself. 

Extol not thyself for the height of thy stature or 
beauty of thy person, which may be disfigured and 
destroyed with a little sickness. 

Take not pleasure in thy natural gifts, or wit, lest 
thereby thou displease God, to whom appertaineth all 
the good whatsoever thou hast by nature. 

III. Esteem not thyself better than others,^ lest per- 
haps in the sight of God, who kiloweth what is in man, 
thou be accounted worse than they. 

Be not proud of well-doing ; * for the judgment of 
God is far different from the judgment of men, and 
that often offeudeth Him which pleaseth them. 

If there be any good iii thee, believe that there is 
much more in others, that so thou mayest conserve 
humility within thee. 

It is no prejudice unto thee to debase thyself under 
all men ; but it is very prejudicial to thee to prefer thy- 
self before any one man. 

The humble enjoy continual peace, but in the heart 
of the proud is envy, and frequent indignation. 

Psalm xxxi. [1]. ^ Jer. ix. [23]. Exod. iii. [11]. 

Jobix.[20]. 



OF OBEDIENCE AND SUBJECTION 11 
CHAPTER VIII 

THAT TOO MUCH FAMILIARITY IS TO BE SHUNNED 

Lay not thy heart open to every one ; but treat of 
thy affairs with the wise, and such as fear God.^ 

Converse not much with young people and strangers.^ 

Flatter not the rich : neither do thou appear will- 
ingly before great personages. 

Keep company with the humble and plain ones, with 
the devout and virtuous ; and confer with them of 
those things that may edify. Be not familiar with any 
woman ; but in general commend all good women to 
God. 

Desire to be familiar with God alone and His Angels, 
and avoid the acquaintance of men. 

II. We must have charity towards all, but familiarity 
with all is not expedient. 

Sometimes it falleth out, that a person unknown to 
us, is much esteemed of, from the good report given him 
by others ; whose presence notwithstanding is not grate- 
ful to the eyes of the beholders. 

We think sometimes to please others by our com- 
pany, and we rather distaste them with those bad quali- 
ties which they discover in us. 



CHAPTER IX 

OF OBEDIENCE AND SUBJECTION 

It is a great matter to live in obedience, to be under 
a superior, and not to be at our own disposing. 

It is much safer to obey, than to govern. 

Many live under obedience, rather for necessity than 

Eccles. viii. [12]. ' Prov. v. [10], 



12 OF THE IMITATION OF CHRIST 

for charity ; such are discontented, and do easily repine. 
Neither can they attain to freedom of mind, unless 
they willingly and heartily put themselves under 
obedience for the love of God. 

Go whither thou wilt, thou shalt find no rest, but in 
humble subjection under the government of a superior. 
The imagination and change of places have deceived 
many. 

II. True it is, that every one willingly doth that 
which agreeth with his OAvn sense, and is apt to affect 
those most that are of his own mind ; 

But if God be amongst us, we must sometimes 
cease , to adhere to our own opinion for the sake of 
peace. 

V^'^ho is so wise that he can fully know all things ; 

Be not therefore too confident in tliine own opinion ; 
but be willing to hear the judgment of others. 

If that which thou thiukest be not amiss, and yet 
thou partest with it for God, and followest the opinion 
of another, it shall be better for thee. 

HI. I have often heard, that it is safer to hear and 
take counsel, than to give it. 

It may also fall out, that each one's opinion may be 
good ; but to refuse to yield to others when reason or a 
special cause requireth it, is a sign of pride and stiff- 
ness. 



CHAPTER X 

OF AVOIDING SUPKRFLUITY IN WORDS 

Fly the tumultuousness of the world as much as 
thou canst ; ^ for the talk of worldly aflFairs is a great 
hindrance, although they be discoursed of with sincere 
intention ; 

For we are quickly defiled, and enthralled with 
vanity. 

Matt. iv. [1] ; xiv. [23] ; John vi. [15], 



OF THE OBTAINING OF PEACE 13 

Oftentimes I could wish that I had held my peace 
when I have spoken ; and that I had not been in 
company. 

Why do we so willingly speak and talk one with 
another, when notwithstanding we seldom return to 
silence without hurt of conscience ? ^ 

The cause why we so willingly talk, is for that by 
discoursing one with another, we seek to receive com- 
fort one of another, and desire to ease our mind over- 
wearied with sundry thoughts : 

And we very willingly talk and think of those things 
which we most love or desire ; or of those which we 
feel most contrary unto us. 

II. But alas, oftentimes in vain, and to no end ; for 
this outward comfort is the cause of no small loss of in- 
ward and divine consolation. 

Therefore we must watch and pray, lest our time 
pass away idly. 

If it be lawful and expedient for thee to speak, speak 
those things that may edify. 

An evil custom and neglect of our own good doth 
give too much liberty to inconsiderate speech. 

Yet religious discourses of spiritual things do greatly 
further our spiritual growth, especially when persons 
of one mind and spirit be gathered together in God.^ 



CHAPTER XI 

OF THE OBTAINING OP PEACE, AND ZEALOUS DESIRE OP 
PROGRESS IN GRACE 

We might enjoy much peace, if we would not busy 
ourselves with the words and deeds of other men, with 
things which appertain nothing to our charge. 

How can he abide long in peace, who thrusts himself 
into the cares of others, who seeks occasions abroad, 



> Matt. vii. [1]; Rom. ii. 



* Acts i. [14] ; Roin. xv. [5, 6]. 



!] 



14 OF THE IMITATION OF CHRIST 

who little or seldom recollects himself within his own 
breast ? 

Blessed are the single-hearted ; for they shall enjoy 

much peace. 

II. VVHiat is the reason, why some of the Saints 
were so perfect and contemplative .'' 

Because they laboured to mortify themselves wholly 
to all earthly desires ; and therefore they could with 
their whole heart fix themselves upon God, and be free 
for holy retirement. 

We are too much led by our passions, and too 
solicitous for transitory things. 

We also seldom overcome any one vice perfectly, 
and are not inflamed with a fervent desire to grow 
better every day ; and therefore we remain cold and 
lukewarm. 

III. If we were perfectly dead unto ourselves, and 
not entangled within our own breasts ; then should we 
be able to taste divine things, and to have some experi- 
ence of heavenly contemplation. 

The greatest and indeed the whole impediment is for 
that we are not disentangled from our passions and 
lusts, neither do we endeavour to enter into that path 
of perfection, which the Saints have walked before us ; 
and when an> small adversity befalleth us, we are 
too quickly dejected, and turn ourselves to human 
comforts. 

IV. If we would endeavour like men of courage to 
stand in the battle, surely we should feel the favourable 
assistance of God from Heaven. 

For He who giveth us occasion to fight, to the end 
we may get the victory, is ready to succour those that 
fight manfully, and do trust in His grace. 

If we esteem our progress in religious life to consist 
only in some exterior observances, our devotion will 
quickly be at an end. 

But let us lay the axe to the root, that being freed 
from passions, we may find rest to our souls. 

V. If every year we would root out one vice, we 
should sooner become perfect men. 



OF THE PROFIT OF ADVERSITY 15 

But now oftentimes we perceive it goes contrary, and 
that we were better and purer at the beginning of our 
conversion, than after many years of our profession. 

Our fervour and profiting should increase daily : but 
now it is accounted a great matter, if a man can retain 
but some part of his first zeal. 

If we would but a little force ourselves at the begin- 
ning, then should we be able to perform all things after- 
wards with ease and delight. 

VI. It is a hard matter to leave off that to which we 
are accustomed, but it is harder to go against our own 
wills. 

But if thou dost not overcome little and easy things, 
how wilt thou overcome harder things } 

Resist thy inclination in the very beginning, and un- 
learn evil customs, lest perhaps by little and little they 
draw thee to greater difficulty. 

O if thou didst but consider how much inward peace 
unto thyself, and joy unto others, thou shouldst procure 
by demeaning thyself well, I suppose thou wouldest be 
mors careful of thy spiritual progress. 



CHAPTER XII 

OF THE PROFIT OF ADVERSITY 

It is good that we have sometimes some troubles and 
crosses ; for they often make a man enter into himself, 
and consider that lie is here in banishment, and ought 
not to place his trust in any worldly thing. 

It is good that we be sometimes contradicted, and 
that there be an evil or a lessening conceit had of us ; 
and this, although we do and intend well. 

These things help often to the attaining of humility, 
and defend us from vain glory : for then we chiefly 
seek God for our inward witness, when outwardly we 
be contemned by men, and when there is no credit 
given unto us. 



16 OF THE IMITATION OF CHRIST 

II. And therefore a man should settle himself so 
fully in God, that he need not to seek many comforts 
of men. 

^\^hen a good man is afflicted, tempted, or troubled 
with evil thoughts ; then he understandeth better the 
great need he hath of God, without whom he perceiveth 
he can do nothing that is good. 

Then also he sorroweth, lamenteth, and prayeth, by 
reason of the miseries he suffereth. 

llien he is weary of living longer, and wisheth that 
death would come, that he might be dissolved and be 
with Christ. 

Then also he well perceiveth, that perfect security 
and full peace cannot be had in this world. 



CHAPTER XIII 

OF RESISTING TE3IPTATION 

So long as we live in this world we cannot be without 
tribulation and temptation. 

According as it is written in Job, ' The life of man 
upon earth is a life of temptation. ^ 

Every one tlierefore ought to be careful about his 
temptations, and to watch in prayer, lest the devil find 
an advantage to deceive him ; who never sleepeth, but 
goeth about seeking whom he may devour. 

No man is so perfect and holy, but he hath some- 
times temptations ; and altogether without them we 
cannot be. 

II. Nevertheless temptations are often very profitable 
to us, though they be troublesome and grievous ; 
for in them a man is humbled, purified, and in- 
structed. 

All the Saints passed through many tribulations and 
temptations, and profited thereby. 

1 Job vii. 1. 



OF RESISTING TEMPTATION 17 

And they that could not bear temptations, became 
reprobate, and fell away. 

There is no order so holy, nor place so secret, where 
there be not temptations, or adversities. 

III. There is no man that is altogether free from 
temptations whilst he liveth on earth : for in ourselves 
is the root thereof, being born with inclination to 
evil. 

When one temptation or tribulation goeth away, 
another cometh ; and we shall ever have something to 
suffer, because we are fallen from the state of our 
felicity. 

Many seek to fly temptations, and do fall more 
grievously into them. 

By flight alone we cannot overcome, but by patience 
and true humility we become stronger than all our 
enemies. 

IV. He that only avoideth them outwardly, and doth 
not pluck them up by the roots, shall profit little ; yea 
temptations will the sooner return unto him, and he 
shall feel himself in a worse case than before. 

By little and little, and by patience with long-suffer- 
ing, through God's help, thou shalt more easily over- 
come, than with violence and thine own importunity. 

Often take counsel in temptations, and deal not 
roughly with him that is tempted ; but give him com- 
fort, as thou wouldest wish to be done to thyself. 

V. The beginning of all evil temptations is inconstancy 
of mind, and small confidence in God. 

For as a ship without a helm is tossed to and fro 
with the waves ; so the man who is remiss, and apt to 
leave his purpose, is many ways tempted. 

Fire trieth iron, and temptation a just man. 

We know not oftentimes what we are able to do, but 
temptations do shew us what we are. 

Yet we must be watchful, especially in the beginning 
of the temptation ; for the enemy is then more easily 
overcome, if he be not sufl'ered to enter the door of our 
hearts, but be resisted without the gate at his first 
knock. 

o 



18 OF THE IMITATION OF CHRIST 

Wherefore one said, ' Withstand the beginnings) for 
an after remedy comes often too late.' ' 

For first there cometh to the mind a bare thought of 
evil, then a strong imagination thereof, afterwards" 
delight, and an evil motion, and then consent. 

And so by little and little our wicked enemy getteth 
complete entrance, whilst he is not resisted in the 
beginning. 

And the longer a man is negligent in resisting, so 
much the weaker does he become daily in himself, and 
the enemy stronger against him. 

VI. Some suffer great temptations in the beginning 
of their conversion ; others in the latter end. 

Others again are much troubled almost through the 
whole time of their life. 

Some are but easily tempted, according to the wisdom 
and equity of the Divine appointment, which weigheth 
the states and deserts of men, and ordaineth all things 
for the welfare of His own chosen ones. 

VII. We ought not therefore to despair when we are 
tempted, but so much the more fervently to pray unto 
God, that He will vouchsafe to help us in all tribula- 
tions ; wjio surely, according to the words of St. Paul, 
will give with the temptation such issue, that we may be 
able to bear it.^ 

Let us therefore humble our souls under the hand of 
God in all temptations and tribulations, for He will save 
and exalt the humble spirit. 

VIII. In temptations and afflictions, a man is proved 
how much he hath profited ; and his reward is thereby 
the greater, and his graces do more eminently shine 
forth. 

Neither is it any such great thing if a man be devout 
and fervent, when he feeleth no affliction ; but if in time 
of adversity he bear himself patiently, there is hope 
then of great proficiency in grace. 

Some are kept from great temptations, and in small 
ones which do daily occur are often overcome ; to the 

> Ovid. Lib. xii. de Remed. Am. * [1 Cor. x. 13.] 



OF AVOIDING RASH JUDGMENT 19 

end that being humbled, they may never presume on 
themselves in great mattei's, who are baffled iu so small 
things. 



CHAPTER XIV 

OF AVOIDING RASH JUDGMENT 

Turn thine eyes unto thyself, and beware thou judge 
not the deeds of otlier men.^ In judging of others a 
man laboureth in vain, often erreth, and easily sinneth ; ^ 
but in judging and discussing of himself, he always 
laboureth fruitfully. 

We often judge of things according as we fancy them ; 
for private affection bereaves us easily of true judgment. 

If God were always the pure intention of our desire, 
we should not be so easily troubled, through the repug- 
nance of our carnal mind. 

II. But oftentimes something lurketh within, or else 
occurreth from without, which draweth us after it. 

Many secretly seek themselves in what they do, and 
know it not. 

They seem also to live in good peace of mind, when 
things are done according to their will and opinion ; 
but if things happen otherwise than they desire, thej^ are 
straightway moved and much vexed. 

The diversities of judgments and opinions, cause 
oftentimes dissensions between friends and countrymen, 
between religious and devout persons.^ 

III. An old custom is hardly broken,* and no man is 
willing to be led farther than himself can see. 

If thou dost more rely upon thine own reason or 
industry, than upon that power which brings thee 
under the obedience of Jesus Christ, it will be long 
before thou become illuminated ; for God will have us 

I Matt. vii. [1] ; Rom. xv. [IJ. 2 Eccles. ill. [16]. 

Matt. sii. [25] ; Luke xii. [51]. Jer. xiii. [23]. 



20 OF THE IMITATION OF CHRIST 

perfectly subject unto Him, that, being inflamed with 
His love, we may transcend the narrow limits of human 
reason. 



CHAPTER XV 

OF WORKS DONE IN CHARITY 

For no worldly thing, nor for the love of any man, is 
any evil to be done ; ^ but yet, for the profit of one that 
standeth in need, a good work is sometimes to be inter- 
mitted without any scruple, or changed also for a 
better. 

For by doing this, a good work is not lost, but 
changed into a better. 

Without charity the exterior work profiteth nothing ;2 
but whatsoever is done of charity, be it never so little 
and contemptible in the sight of the world, it becomes 
wholly fruitful. 

For God weigheth more with how much love a man 
worketh, than how much he doeth. He doeth much 
that loveth much. 

II. He doeth much, that doeth a thing well. 

He doeth well that rather serveth the community, 
than his own will.^ 

Oftentimes it seemeth to be charity, and it is rather 
carnality ; because natural inclination, self-will, hope 
of reward, and desire of our own interest, will seldom 
be away. 

III. He that hath true and perfect charity, seeketh 
himself in nothing : ^ but only desireth in all things 
that the glory of God should be exalted. 

He also envieth none ; because he aifecteth no private 
good; neither will he rejoice in himself; but wisheth 
above all things to be made happy in the enjoyment 
of God.6 

1 Matt, xviii. [8]. 1 Cor. xiii. [3] ; Luke vii. [471. 

Phil. ii. [17]. Phil. ii. [21] ; 1 Cor. xiii. [5]. 

Psalm xvii. [15] ; xxiv. [6]. 



BEARING WITH THE DEFECTS OF OTHERS 21 

He attributetli notliing that is good to any man, but 
wholly referreth it unto God, from whom as from the 
fountain all things proceed ; in whom finally all the 
saints do rest as in their highest fruition. 

O he that hath but one spark of true charity, would 
certainly discern that all eai-thly things be full of 
vanity. 



A^ CHAPTER XVI 

OF BEARING WITH THE DEFECTS OF OTHERS 

Those things that a man cannot amend in himself or 
in others, he ought to suffer patiently, until God order 
things otherwise. 

Think that perhaps it is better so for thy trial and 
patience, without which all our good deeds are not much 
to be esteemed. 

Thou oughtest to pray notwithstanding when thou 
hast such impediments, that God would vouchsafe to 
help thee, and that thou mayest bear them kindly.' 

II. If one that is once or twice warned will not give 

over, contend not with him : but commit all to God, 

that His will may be fulfilled,^ and His name honoured 

in all His servants, who well knoweth how to turn evil 

into good. 

I Endeavour to be patient in bearing with the defects 

I and infirmities of others, of what sort soever they be ; 

for that thyself also hast many failings which must be 

j borne with" by others.^ 

If thou canst not make thyself such an one as thou 
wouldest, how canst thou expect to have another in all 
things to thy liking ? 

We would willingly have others perfect, and yet we 
amend not our own faults. 

Matt. vi. [13] : Luke xi. [4]. ' Matt. vi. [101. 

1 Thess. V. [14] ; Gal. vi. [1]. 



22 OF THE IMITATION OF CHRIST 

III. We will have others severely corrected, and will 
not be corrected ourselves. 

The large liberty of others displeaseth us ; and yet we 
will not have our own desires denied us. 

We will have others kept under by strict laws ; but 
in no sort will ourselves be restrained. 

And thus it appeareth, how seldom we weigh our 
neighbour in the same balance with ourselves. 

If all men were perfect, what should we have to 
suffer of our neighbour for God ? 

IV. But now God hath thus ordered it, that we may 
learn to bear one another's burdens ; ' for no man is 
without fault ; no man but hath his burden ; no man 
sufficient of himself ; no man wise enough of himself ; 

, but we ought to bear with one another, comfort one 
I another, help, instruct, and admonish one another.^ 

M Occasions of adversity best cliscover how great virtue 

jl or strength each one hath. 

For occasions do not make a man frail^ but they 

\) shew what he is. 



CHAPTER XVII 

OF A BETIRED LIFE 

Thou must learn to break thy own will in many things 
if thou wilt have peace and concord with others.^ 

It is no small matter to dwell in a religious com- 
munity, or congregation, to converse therein without 
complaint, and to persevere therein faithfully unto 
death.* 

Blessed is he that hath there lived well, and ended 
happily. 

if thou wilt persevere in grace as thou oughtest, and 
grow therein, esteem thyself as a banished man, and a 
pilgrim upon earth. ^ 

' Gal. vi. [2]. 2 1 Thess. v. [14] ; 1 Cor. xii. [25]. 

* Gal. vi. [Ij. Luke xvi. [10]. 1 Pet. ii. [11]. 



THE EXAMPLES OF THE HOLY FATHERS 23 

Tliou must be contented for Christ's sake to be 
esteemed as a fool in this world, if thou desire to lead 
a religious life. 

H. The wearing of a religious habit, and shaving 
of the crown, do little profit ; but change of manners, 
and perfect mortiiicatiou of passions, make a true 
religious man. 

He that seeketh anything else but merely God, and 
the salvation of his soul, shall find nothing but tribula- 
tion and sorrow.^ 

Neither can he remain long in peace, that laboureth 
not to be the least, and subject unto all. 

HI. Thou earnest to serve, not to rule.^ Know that 
thou wast called to suffer and to labour, not to be idle, 
or to spend thy time in talk. 

Here therefore men are proved as gold in the 
furnace. 

Here no man can stand, unless he humble himself 
with his whole heart for the love of God. 



CHAPTER XVni 

OF THE EXAMPLES OF THE HOLY FATHERS 

Consider the lively examples of the holy Fathers, in 
whom true perfection and religion shined ; ^ and thou 
shalt see how little it is, and almost nothing, which we 
do now in these days. 

Alas ! what is our life, if it be compared to them ! 

The Saints and friends of Christ served the Lord in 
hunger and thirst, in cold and nakedness, in labour 
and weariness, in watchings and fastings, in prayer 
and holy meditations, in many persecutions and re- 
proaches. 

II. O how many and grievous tribulations suffered 

> Ecclea. i. [17, 18] ; Ecclus. i. [18], Matt. xx. [26]. 

Heb. xi. 



24 OF THE IMITATION OF CHRIST 

the Apostles, Martyrs, Confessors, Virgins, and all 
the rest that endeavoured to follow the steps of 
Christ! 

For they hated their lives in this world, that they 
might keep them unto life eternal.* 

O how strict and self-renouncing a life, led those 
holy Fathers in the wilderness !^ How long and 
grievous temptations suffered they ! How often were 
they assaulted by the enemy ! What frequent and 
fervent prayers offered they to God ! AVhat rigorous 
abstinences did they use ! How great zeal and care 
had they of their spiritual proficiency ! How strong 
a combat had they for the overcoming of their lusts ! 
How pure and upright intentions kept they towards 
God! 

In the day they laboured, and in the night they 
attended to continual prayer : although when they 
laboured also, they ceased not from mental prayer. 

III. They spent all their time with profit ; every 
hour seemed short for the service of God. 

And by reason of the great sweetness they felt in 
contemplation, they forgot the necessity of corporal 
refreshments. 

They renounced all riches, dignities, honours, 
friends, and kinsfolk ; ^ they desired to have nothing 
which appertained to the world ; they scarce took 
things necessary for the sustenance of life ; they 
grieved to serve their bodies even in necessity. 

Therefore they were poor in earthly things, but very 
rich in grace and virtues. 

Outwardly they were destitute, but inwardly they 
were refreshed with grace and divine consolation. 

IV. They were strangers to the world, but near and 
familiar friends to God.^ 

They seemed to themselves as nothing, and to this 
present world despicable ; but they were precious and 
beloved in the eyes of God. 

John xii. [25]. ' Matt. vii. [14]. 

* Matt. xix. [29]. * James iv. [4]. 



OF SPIRITUAL EXERCISES U 

They were grounded in true humility, lived in simple 
obedience, walked in love and patience : and therefore 
they profited daily in the Spirit, and obtained great 
grace in God's sight. 

They were given for an example to all religious 
men ; and they should more provoke us to endeavour 
after spiritual proficiencies, than the number of the 
lukewarm livers should prevail to make us remiss. 

V. O how great was the fervour of all religious 
persons in the beginning of their holy institution ! 

How great was tlieir devotion to prayer ! WTiat 
ambition to excel others in virtue ! How exact dis- 
cipline then flourished ! How great reverence and 
obedience, under the rule of their superiors, observed 
they in all things ! 

Their footsteps yet remaining, do testify that they 
were indeed holy and perfect men ; who fighting so 
valiantly trod the world under their feet. 

Now, he is greatly accounted of, who is not a trans- 
gressor, and who can with patience endure that which 
he hath undertaken. 

VI. O the lukewarmness and negligence of our 
times ! that we so quickly decline from the ancient 
fervour, and are come to that pass, that very sloth 
and lukewarmness of spirit maketh our own life tedious 
unto us. 

Would to God the desire to grow in virtues did not 
wholly sleep in thee, who hast often seen the many 
examples of devout and religious persons ! 



CHAPTER XIX 

OF THE EXEKOISES OF A GOOD RELIGIOUS PERSON 

The life of a good religious person ought to be adorned 
with all virtues ; ^ that he may inwardly be such as 
outwardly he seemeth to men. 

1 Matt. V. [48]. 



26 OF THE IMITATION OF CHRIST 

And with reason there ought to be much more 
within, than is perceived without. For God beholdeth 
us ; * whom we are bound most highly to reverence 
wheresoever we are, and to walk in purity ^ like Angels 
in His sight. 

Daily ought we to renew our purposes, and to stir up 
ourselves to greater fervour, as though this were the 
first day of our conversion ; and to say, 

' Help me, my God ! in this my good purpose, and 
in Thy holy service ; and grant that I may now this 
day begin perfectly ; for that which I have done 
hitherto is as nothing.' 

II. According to our purpose shall be the success of 
our spiritual profiting ; and much diligence is necessary 
to him that will profit much. 

And if he that firmly purposeth often faileth, what 
shall he do that seldom purposeth any thing, or with 
little resolvedness ; 

It may fall out sundry ways that we leave off our 
purpose ; yet the light omission of our spiritual exer- 
cises seldom passes without some loss to our souls. 

The purpose of just men depends not upon their 
own wisdom, but upon God's grace ; on whom they 
always rely for whatsoever they take in hand. 

For man purposes, but God disposes ; ^ neither is the 
way of man in himself. 

III. If an accustomed exercise be sometimes omitted, 
either for some act of piety, or profit to my brother ; 
it may easily afterwards be recovered again. 

But if out of a slothful mind, or out of carelessness, 
we lightly forsake the same, it is a great offence 
against God, and will be found to be prejudicial to 
ourselves. Let us do the best we can, we shall still 
too easily fail in many things.* 

Yet must we always purpose some certain course, 
and especially against those failings which do most of 
all molest us. 

I Psalm xxxiii. [13] ; Heb. iv. [12, 13]. Psalm xv. [2]. 
Prov. xvi. [9J. * Eccles. vii. [20]. 



OF SPIRITUAL EXERCISES 27 

We must diligently search into, and set in order 
both the outward and the inward man, because both 
of them are of importance to our progress in godliness. 

IV. If thou canst not continually recollect thyself, 
yet do it sometimes, at the least once a day, namely, 
in the morning or at night. 

In the morning fix thy good purpose ; and at night 
examine thyself what thou hast done, how thou hast 
behaved thyself in word, deed, and thought ; ^ for in 
these perhaps thou hast oftentimes offended both God 
and thy neighbour. 

Gird up thy loins like a man against the vile assaults 
of the devil ; bridle thy riotous appetite, and thou shalt 
be the better able to keep under all the unruly motions 
of the flesh. 

Never be entirely idle ; but either be reading, or 
^^iting, or praying, or meditating, or endeavouring 
something for the public good. 

As for bodily exercises they must be used with dis- 
cretion, neither are they to be practised of all men 
alike. 

V. Those devotions which belong not to the com- 
munity are not to be exposed to public view ; for things 
private are practised more safely at home. 

Nevertheless thou must beware thou neglect not 
those which are common, being more ready for what is 
private. But having fully and faithfully ac'complished 
all which thou art bound and enjoined to do, if thou 
hast any spare time, betake thee to thyself, as thy de- 
votion shall desire. 

All cannot use one kind of spiritual exercise, but one 
is more useful for this person, another for that. 

According to the seasonableness of times also, divers 
exercises are fitting ; some suit better with us on work- 
ing days, other on holy days. 

In the time of temptation, we have need of some, and 
of others in time of peace and quietness. 

Some we mind when we are pensive, and other som9 
when we rejoice in the Lord. 

' Deut. iv. 



28 OF THE IMITATION OF CHRIST 

VI. About the time of the chief festivals, good 
exercises are to be renewed, and the prayers of holy 
men more fervently to be implored. 

From festival to festival we should make some good 
purpose, as though we were then to depart out of this 
world, and to come to the everlasting feast. 

Therefore ought we carefully to prepare ourselves 
at holy times, and to live more devoutly, and to keep 
more exactly ail things that we are to observe, as 
though we were sliortly at God's hands to receive the 
reward of our labours. 

VII. But if it be deferred, let us think with ourselves 
that we are not sufficiently prepared, and unworthy yet 
of so great glory which shall be revealed in us ^ in due 
time ; and let us endeavour to prepare ourselves better 
for our departure. 

' Blessed is that servant (saith the Evangelist St. 
Luke) whom his Lord when He cometh shall find 
watching : \'erily, I say unto you, He shall make him 
ruler over all His goods.' ^ 



CHAPTER XX 

OF THE LOVE OF SOLITUBE ANB SILENCE 



Seek a convenient time ^ to retire into thyself, and 
meditate often upon God's lovingkindness. 

Meddle not with curiosities ; but read such things 
as may rather yield compunction to thy heart, than 
occupation to thy head. 

If thou wilt withdraw thyself from speaking vainly, 
and from gadding idly, as also from hearkening after 
novelties and rumours, thou shalt find leisure enough 
and suitable for meditation on good things. 

The greatest Saints avoided the society of men/ 

> Rom. viii. [18]. 

Luke xii. [43, 44] ; Matt. xxiv. [46, 47]. 

Eccles. iii. [1]. * Heb. xi. [38]. 



THE LOVE OF SOLITUDE AND SILENCE 29 

when they could conveniently, and did rather choose 
to live to God, in secret. 

II. One said, ' As oft as I have been among men, I 
returned home less a man than I was before. ' ^ 

And this we find true, when we talk long together. 
It is easier not to speak a word at all, than not to 
speak more words than we should. 

It is easier for a man to keep at home, than to keep 
himself well when he is abroad. 

He therefore that intends to attain to the more inward 
and spiritual things of religion, must with Jesus depart 
from the multitude and press of people.^ 

No man doth safely appear abroad, but he who gladly 
can abide at home, out of sight. 

No man speaks securely, but he that holds his peace 
willingly.^ 

No man ruleth safely, but he that is willingly ruled. 

No man securely doth command but he that hath 
learned readily to obey. 

III. No man rejoiceth securely, unless he hath within 
him the testimony of a good conscience. 

And yet always the security of the Saints was full of 
the fear of God. 

Neither were they the less anxious and humble in 
themselves, for that they shiued outwardly with grace 
and great virtues. 

But the security of bad men ariseth from pride and 
presumption, and in the end it deceiveth them. 

Although thou seem to be a good religious man, or 
a devout solitary, yet never promise thyself security in 
this life. 

IV. Oftentimes those who have been in the greatest 
esteem and account amongst men, have fallen into the 
greatest danger, by overmuch self-confidence. 

Wherefore to many it is more profitable not to be 
altogether free from temptations, but to be often 
assaulted, lest they should be too secure, and so perhaps 

Seneca, Ep, vii. 2 Matt. v. [1]. 

* Eccles. ii. [7]. 



30 OF THE IMITATION OF CHRIST 

be puffed up with pride ; or else too freely give them- 
selves to worldly comforts. 

O how good a conscience should he keep, that would 
never seek after transitory joy, nor ever entangle him- 
self with the things of this world ! 

how great peace and quietness should he possess, 
that would cut off all vain anxiety, and think only 
upon divine things, and such as are profitable for his 
soul, and would place all his confidence in God. 

V. No man is worthy of heavenly comfort, unless he 
have diligently exercised himself in holy compunction. 

If thou desirest true contrition of heart, enter into 
thy secret chamber, and sliut out the tumults of the 
world, as it is written, ' In j'^our chambers be ye 
grieved.' ' In thy chamber thou shalt find what 
abroad thou shalt too often lose. 

The more thou visitest thy chamber, the more thou 
wilt like it ; the less thou comest thereunto, the more 
thou wilt loath it. If in the beginning of thy conver- 
sion thou art content to remain in it, and keep to it 
well, it will afterwards be to thee a dear friend, and a 
most pleasant comfort. 

VI. In silence and in stillness a religious soul ad- 
vantagetli herself, and learneth the mysteries of Holy 
Scripture. 

There she findeth rivers of tears, wherein she may 
every night ^ wash and cleanse herself ; that she may 
be so much the more familiar with her Creator, by 
how much the farther off she liveth from all worldly 
disquiet. 

Whoso therefore withdraweth himself from his ac- 
quaintance and friends, God will draw near unto him 
with His holy Angels. 

It is better for a man to live privately, and to take 
care of himself, than to neglect his soul, though he 
could work wonders in the world. 

It is commendable in a religious person, seldom to go 
abroad, to be unwilling to see or to be seen. 

VII. Why art thou desirous to see that which it is 
' Psalm iv, [4. Latin Version], * Psalm vi, [6], 



I 



I 

THE LOVE OF SOLITUDE AND SILENCE 31 

unlawful for thee to have? Tne world passeth away 
and the lust thereof. 

Our sensual desires draw us to rove abroad ; but 
when the time is past, what carriest thou home with 
thee but a burdened conscience and distracted heart ? 

A merry going out bringeth often a mournful return 
home ; and a joyful evening makes often a sad morn- 
ing.^ 

So all carnal joy enters gently, but in the end it 
bites and stings to death. 

^Vhat canst thou see elsewhere, which thou canst 
not see here ? ^ Behold the heaven and the earth and 
all the elements ; for of these are all things created. 

VIII. ^Vhat canst thou see any where that can long 
continue under the sun? 

Thou thinkest perchance to satisfy thyself, but thou 
canst never attain it. 

Shouldest thou see all things present before thine 
eyes, what were it but a vain sight ? ^ 

Lift up thine eyes * to God in the highest, and pray 
Him to pardon thy sins and negligences. 

Leave vain things to the vain ; but be thou intent 
upon those things which God hath commanded thee. 

Shut thy door upon thee,^ and call unto thee Jesus, 
thy Beloved. 

Stay with Him in thy closet ; for thou shalt not find 
so great peace any where else. 

If thou hadst not gone abroad and hearkened to idle 
rumours, thou wouldest the better have preserved a 
happy peace of mind. But since thou delightest some- 
times to hear novelties, it is but fit thou suffer for it 
some disquietude of heart. 

Prov. xiv. [13]. ' Eccles. i. [101. 

Eccles. iii. [UJ. * Psalm cxxi. [1]. 

Matt. vi. [6]. 



32 OF THE IMITATION OF CHRIST 
CHAPTER XXI 

OF COMPUNCTION OF HEART 

If thou wilt make any progress in godliness, keep thy- 
self in the fear of God/ and aiffect not too much liberty. 
Restrain all thy senses under discipline, and give not 
thyself over to foolish mirth. 

Give thyself to compunction of heart, and thou shalt 
gain much devotion thereby. 

Compunction layeth open much good, which dis- 
soluteness is wont quickly to destroy. 

It is a wonder that any man can ever perfectly 
rejoice in this life, if he duly consider, and thoroughly 
weigh his state of banishment, and the many perils 
wherewith his soul is environed. 

II. Through levity of heart, and small care for our 
failings, we become insensible of the real sorrows of 
our souls ; and so oftentimes we vainly laugh, when we 
have just cause to weep. 

There is no true liberty nor right joy but in the fear 
of God accompanied with a good conscience. 

Happy is he, who can cast off all distracting impedi- 
ments, and bring himself to the one single purpose of 
holy compunction. 

Happy is he, who can abandon all that may defile his 
conscience or burden it. 

Resist manfully ; one custom overcometh another. 

If thou canst let others alone in their matters, they 
likewise shall not hinder thee in thine. 

III. Busy not thyself in matters which appertain 
to others ; neither do thou entangle thyself with the 
affairs of thy betters. 

Still have an eye to thyself first, and be sure more 
especially to admonish thyself before all thy beloved 
friends. 

If thou hast not the favour of men, be not grieved at 
it ; 2 but take this to heart, that thou dost not behave 

> Prov. xix. [23]. Gal. i. [10]. 



OF COMPUNCTION OF HEART 33 

thyself so warily and circumspectly as it becometh the 
servant of God, and a devout religious man. 

It is better oftentimes and safer that a man should 
not have many consolations in this life,^ especially such 
as are according to the flesh. 

But that we have not divine consolations at all, or 
do very seldom taste them, the fault is ours, because 
we seek not after compunction of heart, nor do alto- 
gether forsake the vain and outward comforts of this 
world. 

IV. Know that thou art unworthy of divine consola- 
tion, and that thou hast rather deserved much tribula- 
tion. 

When a man hath perfect contrition, then is the 
whole world grievous and bitter unto him.^ 

A good man iindeth always sufficient cause for 
mourning and weeping. 

For whether he consider his own or his neighbour's 
estate, he knoweth that none liveth here without 
tribulation. 

And the more narrowly a man looks into himself, so 
much the more he sorroweth. 

Our sins and wickednesses wherein we lie so enwrapt, 
that we can seldom apply ourselves to Heavenly con- 
templations, do minister unto us matter of just sorrow 
and inward compunction. 

V. Didst thou oftener think of tliy death,^ than of thy 
living long, there is no question but thou wouldst be 
more zealous to amend. 

If also thou didst but consider within thyself the 
infernal pains in the other world,* I believe thou 
wouldst willingly undergo any labour or sorrow in this 
world, and not be afraid of the greatest austerity. 

But because these things enter not to the heart, and 
we still love those things only that delight us, therefore 
it is we remain cold and very dull in religion. 

> Psalm Ixxvi. [5]. 

Judges ii. [4] ; xx. [26]. 2 Kings xiii. [perhaps 2 Sam. 
xii. 17]. 
Eccles. vii. [1, 2], * Matt. xxv. [41]. 



34 OF THE IMITATION OF CHRIST 

VI. It is ofteu our want of spirit which maketh our 
miserable body so easily complain. 

Pray therefore unto the Lord with all humility, that 
He will vouchsafe to give thee the spirit of compunc- 
tion. And say with the Prophet, ' Feed me, O Lord, 
with the bread of tears, and give me plenteousness of 
tears to drink. ^ ^ 



CHAPTER XXII 

OF THE CONSIDERATION OF HUMAN MISERY 

Miserable thou art, wheresoever thou be, or whither- 
soever thou turnest, unless thou turn thyself unto 
God. 

Why art thou troubled when things succeed not as 
thou wouldest or desirest .'' For who is he that hath all 
things according to his mind } ^ neither I nor thou, nor 
any man upon earth. 

There is none in this world, even though he be King 
or Bishop, without some tribulation or perplexity. 

Who is then in the best case } even he who is able to 
suifer something for God. 

II. Many weak and infirm persons say. Behold ! 
what a happy life such an one leads : ^ how wealthy, 
how great he is, in what power and dignity ! 

But lift up thine eyes to the riches of Heaven, and 
thou shalt see that all the goods of this life are nothing 
to be accounted of. They are very uncertain, and 
rather burdensome than otherwise, because they are 
never possessed without anxiety and fear. 

Man's happiness consisteth not in having abundance 
of temporal goods,* but a moderate portion is suflUcient 
for him. 

Truly it is misery even to live upon the earth.^ 

' Psalm Ixxx. [5]. Eccles. vi. [2]. 

Luke xii. [19]. * Prov. xix. [IJ. 

Job xiv. [1] ; Eccles. ii. [17]. 



THE CONSIDERATION OF HUMAN MISERY 35 

The more spiritual a man desires to be, the more 
bitter does this present life become to him ; because he 
sees more clearly and perceives more sensibly the 
defects of human corruption. 

For to eat and to drink, to sleep and to watch, to 
labour and to rest, and to be subject to other necessities 
of nature, is doubtless a great misery and affliction to a 
religious man, who would gladly be set loose, and free 
from all sin. 

III. For the inward man is much weighed down with 
these outward and corporal necessities whilst we live in 
this world. 

Therefore the Prophet prayeth with great devotion 
to be enabled to be free from them, saying, 'Bring 
me, O Lord, out of my necessities.' ^ 

But woe be to them that know not their own misery; 
and a greater woe to them that love this miserable and 
corruptible life ! ^ 

For some there be who so much doat upon it, that 
although by labour or by begging they can scarce get 
mere necessaries, yet if they might be able to live here 
always, they would care notliiug at all for the Kingdom 
of God. 

IV. O how senseless are these men and unbelieving 
in heart, who lie so deeply sunk in the earth, that they 
can relish nothing but carnal things ! ^ 

But miserable as they are, they shall in the end feel 
to their cost how vile and how nothing that was which 
they loved. 

Whereas the Saints of God and all the devout friends 
of Christ regarded not those things which pleased the 
flesh, nor those which flourished in this life, but longed 
after the everlasting riches ^ with their whole hope and 
earnest intention. 

Their whole desire was carried upward to things 
durable and invisible, that the desire of things visible 
might not draw them to things below. 

Psalm XXV. [17], ' Eom. viii. [22]. 

Rom. viii. [5], * 1 Pet. i. [4] ; Heb. xi. [26]. 



II 



36 OF THE IMITATION OF CHRIST 

V. O my brother^ lose not thy confidence of making 
progress in godliness ; there is yet time, the hour is 
not yet past. ^ 

Why wilt thou defer thy good purpose from day to 
day ? Arise and begin in this very instant^ and say, 
Now is the time to be doing, now is the time to be 
striving, now is the fit time to amend myself. 

When thou art ill at ease and much troubled, then is 
the time of deserving best. 

Thou must pass through fire and water ^ before thou 
come to the place of refreshing. 

Unless thou dost earnestly force thyself, thou shalt 
never get the victory over sin. 

So long as we carry about us this frail body of ours, 
we can never be without sin, or live without weariness 
and pain. 

We would gladly be quiet and freed from all misery, 
but seeing by sin we have lost our innocency, we have 
together with that lost also the true felicity.^ 

Therefore it becomes us to have patience, and to wait 
for the mercy of God, till this iniquity pass away, and 
mortality be swallowed up of life.* 

VI. O how great is human frailty, which is always 
prone to evil.^ 

To-day thou confessest thy sins, and to-morrow thou 
committest the very same thou hast confessed. 

Now, thou art purposed to look well unto thy ways, 
and within a while thou so behavest thyself, as though 
thou hadst never any such purpose at all. 

Good cause have we therefore to humble ourselves, 
and never to have any great conceit of ourselves : since 
we are so frail and so inconstant. 

Besides, that may quickly be lost by our own negli- 
gence, which, by the grace of God, with much labour 
we have scarce at length obtained. 

A'll. What will become of us in the end, who begin 
so early to wax lukewarm ! 

1 Rom. xiii. [11] ; Heb. x. [35] Psalm xlvi. [12]. 
Rom. vii. [24] ; Gen. iii. [17], * 2 Cor. v. [4]. 
Gen. vi. [5] ; viii. [21]. 2 Mac. ix. [11], 



OF MEDITATION ON DEATH 37 

Woe be unto us, if we will so give ourselves unto 
ease, as if all were in peace and safety, when as yet 
there appeareth no sign of true holiness in our conver- 
sation ! 

We have much need like young beginners to be 
newly instructed again to good life, if liaply there be 
some hope of future amendment, and greater pro- 
ficiency in things spiritual. 



CHAPTER XXIII 

OF MEDITATION ON DEATH 

Vkrt quickly there will be an end of thee here ; ' 
look what will become of thee in another world. 

To-day the man is here ; to-morrow he is gone. 

And when he is out of sight, quickly also is he out 
of mind. 

O the stupidity and liardness of man^s heart, which 
thinketh only upon the present, and doth not rather 
care for what is to come ! 

Thou oughtest so to order thyself in all thy thoughts 
and actions, as if to-day thou wert about to die.^ 

If thou hadst a good conscience, thou wouldst not 
greatly fear death. ^ 

It were better to avoid sin than to fly death.* 

If to-day thou art not prepared, how wilt thou be so 
to-morrow.^ 

To-morrow is uncertain, and how knowest thou that 
thou shalt live till to-morrow ! 

II. What availeth it to live long, when there is so 
small amendment in our practice ! 

Alas ! length of days doth more often make our sins 
the greater, than our lives the better ! 

Job ix. [25, 26] ; xiv. [1, 2] ; Luke xii. [20] ; Heb. vs.. 
[27]. 

Matt. XXV. [13]. Luke xii. [37]. 

Wisd. iv. [16]. Matt. xxiv. [44] ; xxv. [10]. 



38 OF THE IMITATION OF CHRIST 

O that we had spent but one day in this world 
thoroughly well ! 

Many there are who count how long it is since their 
conversion ; and yet full slender oftentimes is the 
fruit of amendment of life. 

If to die be accounted dreadful, to live long may 
perhaps prove more dangerous. 

Happy is he that always hath the hour of his death 
before his eyes/ and daily prepareth himself to die. 

If at any time thou hast seen another man die, make 
account thou must also pass the same way.^ 

III. When it is morning, think thou mayest die 
before night ; 

And when evening comes, dare not to promise thyself 
the next morning. 

Be thou therefore always in a readiness, and so lead 
thy life that death may never take thee unprepared.^ 

Many die suddenly and when they look not for it ; 
for the Son of man will come at an hour when we 
think not.* 

W^hen that last hour shall come, thou wilt begin to 
have a far different opinion of thy whole life that is 
past, and be exceeding sorry thou hast been so careless 
and remiss. 

IV. O how wise and happy is he that now laboureth 
to be such an one in his life, as he wisheth to be found 
at the hour of death ! 

A perfect contempt of the world,* a fervent desire to 
go forward in all virtue, the love of discipline, tlie 
painfulness of repentance, the readiness of obedience, 
the denying of ourselves, and the bearing any affliction 
wliatever for the love of Christ, will give us great con- 
fidence we shall die happily. 

AV'hilst tliou art in health thou mayest do much 
good ; but when thou art sick, I see not what thou wilt 
be able to do. 

Few by sickness grow better and more reformed ; as 

Eccles. i-ii. [11. 2 Heb. ix. [271. 

3 Luke xxi. [36]. Matt. xxiv. [44] ; Luke xii. [40]. 

* Ecclus. xli. [1], 



OF MEDITATION ON DEATH 39 

also they who wander much abroad, seldom thereby 
become holy. 

V. Trust not to friends and kindred^ neither do thou 
put off the care of thy soul's welfare till hereafter ; for 
men will forget thee, sooner than thou art aware of. 

It is better to look to it betime, and do some good 
beforehand, than to trust to other men's help.^ 

If thou be not careful for thyself now, who will be 
careful for thee hereafter ? 

Tlie time that is now present is very precious : now 
are the days of salvation ; now is the acceptable time. 

But alas ! that thou shouldest spend thy time so idly 
here, when thou mightest purchase to live eternally 
hereafter. 

The time will come, when thou shalt desire one day 
or hour to amend in, and I cannot say that it will be 
granted thee. 

VI. O beloved, from how great danger mightest 
thou deliver thyself, from how great fear free thyself, 
if thou wouldst be ever fearful and mindful of death ! 

Labour now so to live, that at the hour of death thou 
mayest rather rejoice than fear. 

Learn now to die to the world, that thou mayest 
then begin to live with Christ. ^ 

Learn ^ow to contemn all things,^ that thou mayest 
then freely go to Christ. 

Chastise thy body now by repentance,* that thou 
mayest then have assured confidence. 

VII. Ah ! fool, why dost thou think to live long, 
when thou canst not promise to thyself one day.^ 

How many have been deceived and suddenly snatched 
away ! 

How often dost thou hear these reports, Such a man 
is slain, another man is drowned, a third breaks his 
neck with a fall from some high place, this man die*? 
eating, and that man playing ! 

1 Isaiah xxx. [5] ; xxxi. [1] ; Jer. xvii. [5] ; xlviii. [7] ; 
Matt. vi. [20]. 



2 Rom. vi. [1]. * Luke xiv. [33]. 



* 1 Cor. ix. [27]. Luke xii. [20]. 



40 OF THE IMITATION OF CHRIST 

One perished by fire^ another by the sword, another 
of the plague, another was slain by thieves. Thus 
death is the end of all, and man's life suddenly passeth 
away like a shadow. ^ 

VIII. Who shall remember thee when thou art 
dead ? and who shall pray for thee .'' 

Do, do now, my beloved, whatsoever thou art able to 
do ; for thou knowest not when thou shalt die, nor yet 
what shall befall thee after thy death. 

Now whilst thou hast time, heap unto thyself ever- 
lasting riches. 2 

Think on nothing but the salvation of thy soul, care 
for nothing but the things of God. 

Make now friends to thyself by honouring the Saints 
of God, and imitating their actions, that when thou 
failest in this life, they may receive- thee into everlast- 
ing habitations.^ 

IX. Keep thyself as a stranger and pilgrim upon the 
earth,^ and as one to whom the affairs of this world do 
nothing appertain. 

Keep thy heart free, and lifted up to God, because 
thou hast here no abiding city.^ 

Send thither thy daily prayers and sighs together 
with thy tears, that after death thy spirit may be 
found worthy with much happiness to pass to the Lord. 
Anwi. 



CHAPTER XXIV 



In all things have a special aim to thy end, and how 
thou wilt be able to stand before that severe Judge ^ to 
whom nothing is hid, who is not pacified with gifts, 



1 Job xiv. [2]. 

2 Matt. vi. [20] ; Luke xii. [33] ; Gal. vi. [8]. 

Luke xvi. [9] ; Heb. xi. 1 Pet. ii. [11] 

Heb. xiii. [14]. ' Heb. x. [31]. 



OF THE PUNISHMENT OF SINNERS 41 

nor admitteth any excuses, but will judge according to 
right and equity. 

O wretched and foolish sinner, who sometimes fearest 
the countenance of an angry man, what answer wilt 
thou make to God who knoweth all thy wickedness ! ^ 

Why dost thou not provide for thyself ^ against that 
great day of judgment, when no man can excuse or 
answer for another, but every one shall have enough 
to answer for himself ! 

Now are thy pains profitable, thy tears acceptable,^ 
thy groans audible, thy grief pacifieth God, and purgeth 
thy soul. 

II. The patient man hath a great and wholesome 
purgatory,* who though he receive injuries, yetgrieveth 
more for the malice of another, than for his own 
wrong ; who prayeth willingly for his adversaries,^ and 
from his heart forgiveth their offences ; he delayeth 
not to ask forgiveness of whomsoever he hath offended ; 
he is sooner moved to compassion than to anger ; he 
often offereth [an holy] violence to himself, and 
laboureth to bring the body wholly into subjection to 
the spirit. 

It is better to purge out our sins, and cut off our 
viceg here, than to keep them to be punished here- 
after. 

Verily we do but deceive ourselves through an in- 
ordinate love of the flesh. 

III. What is there that the infernal fire shall feed 
upon, but thy sins .'' 

The more thou sparest thyself now and followest the 
flesh, the more severe hereafter shall be thy punish- 
ment, and thou storest up greater fuel for that fiame. 

In what things a man hath sinned, in the same 
shall he be the more grievously punished. 

There shall the slothful be pricked forward with 
burning goads, and the glutton be tormented with 
extreme hunger and thirst. 

I Jobix. [2]. -^ Luke xvi. [9]. 

2 Cor. VI. [4]. James i. [4]. 

Luke xxiii. [34] ; Acts vii. [60], 



42 OF THE IMITATION OF CHRIST 

There shall the luxurious and lovers of pleasures be 
bathed in burning pitch and stinking brimstone, and 
the envious, like mad dogs, shall howl for very grief. 

IV. There is no sin but shall have its own proper 
torment. 

There the proud shall be filled with all confusion ; 
the covetous shall be pinched with miserable penury ; 

One hour of pain there shall be more bitter than a 
thousand years of the sharpest penance here ! 

There is no quiet, no comfort for the damned there ; * 
yet here we have some intermission of our labours, and 
enjoy the comfort of our friends. 

Be now solicitous and sorrowful because of thy sins, 
that at the day of judgment thou mayest be secure 
with the company of blessed souls. 

For then shall the righteous with great boldness 
stand against such as have vexed and oppressed them.^ 

Then shall he stand to judge them, who doth now 
humbly submit himself to the censures of men. 

Then shall the poor and humble have great con- 
fidence, but the proud man shall be compassed with 
fear on every side. 

V. Then will it appear that he was wise in this world, 
who had learned to be a fool and despised for Christ's 
sake. 

Then shall every affliction patiently undergone 
delight us, when the mouth of all iniquity shall be 
stopped.^ 

Then shall all the devout rejoice, and all the profane 
mourn. 

Then shall he more rejoice that hath beat down his 
own flesh, than he that hath abounded in all pleasure 
and delight.'' 

Tlien shall the poor attire shine gloriously, and the 
precious robes seem vile and contemptible. 

Then the poor cottage shall be more commended, 
than the gilded palace. 

> Job xl. [12], xli. ' Wisd. v. [1]. 

Psalm evil. [42], 2 Cor. iv. [17]. 



OF THE PUNISHMENT OF SINNERS 43 

Then will constant patience more avail us, than all 
earthly power. 

Then simple obedience shall be exalted above all 
worldly wisdom.^ 

VI. Tlien shall a good and clear conscience more 
rejoice a man, than all the learning of philosophy. 

Then shall the contempt of riches weigh more than 
all the worldling's treasure. 

Then wilt thou be more comforted that thou hast 
prayed devoutly, than that thou hast fared daintily. 

Tlien wilt tliou be more glad thou hast kept silence, 
than that thou hast talked much. 

Then will good woi'ks avail more than many goodly 
ivords. 

Then a strict life and severe repentance will be more 
pleasing than all earthly delights. 

Accustom thyself now to suiler a little, that thou 
mayest then be delivered from more grievous pains. 

Prove first here what thou canst endure hereafter. 

If now thou canst endure so little, how wilt thou then 
be able to support eternal torments f 

If now a little suffering make thee so impatient, what 
will hell fire do hereafter.'' 

Assure thyself thou canst not have two paradises ; it 
is impossible to enjoy delights in this world, and after 
that to reign with Christ. 

VII. Suppose thou hast hitherto lived always in 
honours and delights, what would all this avail thee if 
thou wert to die at this instant ? ^ 

All therefore is vanity,^ except to love God and 
serve Him only. 

For he that loveth God with all his heart, is neither 
afraid of death, nor of punishment, nor of judgment, nor 
of hell ; for perfect love gives secure access to God."* 

But he that takes delight in sin, what marvel is it if 
he be afraid, both of death and judgment .'' 

Yet it is good, although love be not yet of force to 

1 Isaiah xxix. [19]. Luke xii. [20]. 

Eccles. i. [2]. VKom. viii. [39]. 



^ 



44 OF THE IMITATION OF CHRIST 

withhold thee from sin, that at least the fear of hell 
should restrain thee. 

But he that layeth aside the fear of God, can never 
continue long in good estate, but falleth quickly into 
the snares of the devil. 



CHAPTER XXV 

OF THE ZEALOUS AMENDMENT OF OUR WHOLE LIFE 

Be watchful and diligent in the service of God ; ' and 
often bethink thyself wherefore thou earnest hither, 
and why thou hast left the world. Was it not that 
thou mightest live to God, and become a spiritual man ? 

Be fervent then in going forward,^ for shortly thou 
shalt receive the reward of thy labours ; there shall not 
be then any more fear or sorrow in thy coasts.^ 

Labour but now a little, and thou shalt find great 
rest, yea, perpetual joy.* 

If thou continuest faithful and fervent in thy work, 
no doubt but God will be faithful and liberal in reward- 
ing thee.* 

Thou oughtest to have a good hope ^ of getting the 
victory ; but thou must not be secure, lest thou wax 
either negligent or proud. 

II. When one that was in anxiety of mind, often waver- 
ing between fear and hope, did once, being oppressed 
with grief, humbly prostrate himself in a church before 
the altar in prayer, and said within himself, O if I knew 
that I should yet persevere ! he presently heard within 
him an answer from God, which said. What if thou 
didst know it, what wouldest thou do ? Do now what 
thou wouldest do then, and thou shalt be secure. 

And being herewith comforted and strengthened, he 



1 2 Tim. iv. [51. Matt. v. [48]. 

' Kev. xxi. M ; xxii. [3], 

* Ecclus. 11. [27] ; Rev. xxi. [4] ; xxii. [3]. 

Matt. XXV. [23] . Rom, v. [5], 



ZEALOUS AMENDMENT OF OUR LIFE 45 

committed himself wholly to the will of God, and that 
noisome anxiety ceased : 

Neither had he the mind to search curiously any 
farther, to know what should befall him ; but rather 
laboured to understand what was the perfect and ac- 
ceptable will of God^ for the beginning and accom- 
plishing of every good work. 

in. ' Hope in the Lord, and do good/ saith the 
Prophet, ' and inhabit the laud, and thou shalt be fed 
in the riches thereof.' ^ 

One thing there is that draweth many back from a 
spiritual progress, and the diligent amendment of their 
lives ; viz. Extreme fear of the difficulty, or the labour 
of the combat. 

However, they above others improve most in all 
virtue, who endeavour most to overcome those things 
which are most grievous and contrary unto them. 

For there a man improveth most and obtaineth greater 
grace, where he most overcometh himself and morti- 
fieth himself in spirit. 

IV. But all men have not equally much to overcome 
and mortify. 

Yet he that is zealous and diligent, though he have 
more passions, shall profit more than another that is of 
a more temperate disposition, if he be less fervent in 
the pursuit of all virtue. 

Two tilings especially much further our amendment, 
to wit, To withdraw ourselves violently from that to 
which nature is viciously inclined, and to labour 
earnestly for that good which we most want. 

Be careful also to avoid with great diligence those 
things in thyself, which do commonly displease thee in 
others. 

V. Gather some profit to thy soul wheresoever thou 
art ; so as if thou seest or hearest of any good examples, 
stir up thyself to the imitation thereof. 

But if thou observe any thing worthy of reproof, 
beware thou do not the same. And if at any time thou 
hast done it, labour quickly to amend thyself. 

* Rom. xii. [2], Psalm xxxvii. [3], 



46 OF THE IMITATION OF CHRIST 

As thine eye observeth others/ so art thou also noted 
again by others. 

O how sweet and pleasant a thing it is, to see brethren 
fervent and devout, well-mannered and well-disciplined ! ^ 

And on the contrary, how sad and grievous a thing 
it is, to see them live in a dissolute and disordered 
sort, not applying themselves to that for which they 
are called ! 

How hurtful a thing is it, when they neglect the 
good purposes of their vocation, and busy themselves 
in that which is not committed to their care ! 

VI. Be mindful of the profession thou hast made, 
and have always before the eyes of thy soul the re- 
membrance of thy Saviour crucified. 

Thou hast good cause to be ashamed in looking 
upon the life of Jesus Christ, seeing thou hast not 
as yet endeavoured to conform thyself more unto Him 
though thou hast been a long time in the way of God. 

A religious person that exerciseth himself seriously 
and devoutly in the most holy life and passion of our 
Lord, shall there abundantly find whatsoever is 
necessary and profitable for him ; neither shall he 
need to seek any better thing, out of Jesus. 

O if Jesus crucified would come into our hearts,^ 
how quickly and fully should we be taught ! 

VII. A fervent religious person taketh and beareth 
all well that is commanded him. 

But he that is negligent and lukewarm, hath tribula- 
tion upon tribulation, and on all sides is afflicted ; for 
he is void of inward consolation, and is forbidden to 
seek external comforts. 

A religious person that liveth not according to 
discipline, lies open to great mischief to the ruin of 
his soul. 

He that seeketh liberty and ease, shall ever live in 
disquiet ; for one thing or other will displease him. 

1 Matt. vii. [3]. 

Eph. V. [perhaps vi. 1017] ; 1 Cor. xii, [18] ; Eccles. 
iii. [1]. 
' Gal. ii. [20] ; vi. [14]. 



ZEALOUS AMENDMENT OF OUR LIFE 47 

Vin. O that we hiad nothing else to do, but always 
with our mouth and whole heart to praise our Lord 
God ! 

O that thou mightest never have need to eat, or 
drink, or sleep; but mightest always praise God, and 
only employ thyself in spiritual exercises ; thou 
shouldest then be much more happy than now thou 
art, when for so many necessities thou art constrained 
to serve thy body ! 

Would God there were not these necessities, but 
only the spiritual refreshments of the soul, which, alas, 
we taste of too seldom ! 

IX. When a man cometh to that estate, that he 
seeketh not his comfort from any creature, then 
doth he begin perfectly to relish God. Then shall 
he be contented with whatsoever doth befall him in 
this world. 

Then shall he neither rejoice in great matters, nor 
be sorrowful for small ; but entirely and confidently 
commit himself to God, who shall be unto him all 
in all ; ^ to whom nothing doth perish nor die, but 
all things do live unto Him, and serve him at a beck 
without delay. 

X. Remember always thy end,' and how that time 
lost never returns. Without care and diligence thou 
shalt never get virtue. 

If thou begin to wax lukewarm,^ it will begin to be 
evil with thee. 

But if thou give thyself to fervour of spirit, thou 
shalt find much peace, and feel less labour, through 
the assistance of God's grace, and the love of virtue. 

The fervent and diligent man is prepared for all 
things. 

It is harder work to resist vices and passions, than 
to toil in bodily labours. 

He that avoideth not small faults, by little and 
little falleth into greater.* 

1 Rom. xi. [36] ; 1 Cor. viii. [6] j xii. [6] ; xv. [28]. 
Ecclus. vii. [361. Rev. iii. [16], 

* Ecclus. xix. [l]. 



48 OF THE IMITATION OF CHRIST 

Thou wilt always rejoice in the eveuing, if thou 
spend the day profitably. 

Be watchful over thyself, stir up thyself, admonish 
thyself, and whatever becomes of others neglect not 
thyself. 

The more violence thou usest against thyself, the 
greater shall be thy profiting, Amen, 



THE SECOND BOOK 

ADMONITIONS TENDING TO THINGS INTERNAL 

CHAPTER I 

OF THE INWARD LIFE 

' The Kingdom of God is within you/ ^ saith the 
Lord. Turn thee with thy whole heart ^ unto the 
Lord, and forsake this wretched world, and thy soul 
shall find rest. 

Learn to despise outward things, and to give thyself 
to things in\^'ard, and thou shalt perceive the Kingdom 
of God to come in thee. 

' For the Kingdom of God is peace and joy in the 
Holy Ghost,' ^ which is not given to the unholy. 

Christ will come unto thee, and shew thee His own 
consolation, if thou prepare for Him a worthy mansion 
within thee. 

All His glory and beauty is from within,* and there 
He delighteth Himself. 

The inward man He often visiteth ; and hath with 
him sweet discourses, pleasant solace, much peace, 
familiarity exceeding wonderful. 

n. O faithful soul, make ready thy heart for this 
Bridegroom, that He may vouchsafe to come unto thee, 
and to dwell witliin thee. 

For thus saith He, ' If any love Me, he will keep 
My words, and We will come unto him, and will make 
our abode with him.' * 

' Luke xvil. [21]. * Joel ii. [12]. Rom. xiv. [17]. 

* Psalm xiv. [13]. John xiv. [23], 

E 



60 OF THE IMITATION OF CHRIST 

Give therefore admittance unto Christy and deny 
entrance to all others. 

When thou hast Christ, thou art rich, and hast 
enough. He will be thy faithful and provident helper 
in all things, so as thou shalt not need to trust 

in men. 

For men soon change, and quickly fail ; but Christ 
remaineth for ever,i gnj stand eth by us firmly unto 

the end. 

III. There is no great trust to be put in a frail and 
mortal m.an,^ even though he be profitable and dear 
unto us : neither ought we to be much grieved, if 
sometimes he cross and contradict us. 

They that to-day take thy part, to-morrow may be 
against thee ; and often do they turn right round like 
the wind. 
j Put all thy trust in God,^ let Him be thy fear, and t 
I thy love : He shall answer for thee, and will do in all | 
) things what is best for thee. 

Thou hast not here an abiding city ; * and whereso- 
ever thou may est be, thou art a stranger and pilgrim : 
neither shalt thou ever have rest, unless thou be most 
inwardly united unto Christ. 

IV. Why dost thou here gaze about, since this is 
not the place of thy rest ? In Heaven ought to be thy 
home,* and all earthly things are to be looked upon aa 
it were by the way. 

All things pass away," and thou together with them. 

Beware thou cleave not unto them, lest thou be 
caught, and so perish. Let thy thought be on the 
Highest, and thy prayer for mercy directed unto 
Christ without ceasing. 

If thou canst not contemplate high and heavenly 
things, rest thyself in the passion of Christ, and dwell 
willingly in His sacred wounds. 

For if thou fly devoutly unto the wounds and precious 

> John xii. [34]. * Jer. xvii. [5]. 

1 Pet. V. [7]. Heb. xiii. [14], 

Phil. iii. [20], Wisd. v. [9]. 



OF THE INWARD LIFE 61 

marks of the Lord Jesus, thou shalt feel great comfort 
ill tribulation : neither wilt thou much care for the 
slights of men, and wilt easily bear words of detraction. 

V. Christ was also in the world, despised of men, 
and in greatest necessity, forsaken by His acquaintance 
and friends, in the midst of slanders.^ 

Christ was willing to suffer and be despised ; and 
darest thou complain of any man ? 

Christ had adversaries and backbiters ; and dost 
thou wish to have all men thy friends and benetactors ? 

Whence shall thy patience attain her crown ^ if no 
adversity befall thee ? 

If thou art willing to suffer no opposition, how wilt 
thou be the friend of Christ ? 

Suffer with Christ, and for Christ, if thou desire to 
reign with Christ. 

VI. If thou hadst but once perfectly entered into the 
secrets of the Lord Jesus, and tasted a little of His 
ardent love ; then wouldest thou not regard thine own 
convenience or inconvenience, but rather wouldest 
rejoice at slanders, if they should be cast upon thee ; 
for the love of Jesus maketh a man despise himself. 

A lover of Jesus and of the truth, and a true inward 
Christian, and one free from inordinate affections, can 
freely turn himself unto God, and lift himself above 
himself in spirit, and with joy remain at rest. 

VII. He that judgeth of ail things as they are, and 
not as they are said or esteemed to be, is truly wise, 
and taught rather of God than men.^ 

He that can live inwardly, and make small reckoning 
of things without, neither requireth places, nor expect- 
eth times, for performing of religious exercises. 

A spiritual man quickly recollecteth himself, be- 
cause he never poureth out himself wholly to outward 
things. 

He is not hindered by outward labour, or business, 
which may be necessary for the time : but as things 
fall out, so he accommodates himself to them. 

Matt. xii. [24] ; xvi. [21] ; John xv. [20]. 

2 Tim. ii. [5], ' Isaiah liv. [18]. 



/ 



62 OF THE IMITATION OF CHRIST 

He that is well ordered and disposed within himself, 
cares not for the strange and perverse behaviour of men. 

A man is hindered and distracted, in proportion as 
he draweth external matters unto himself. 

VIII. If it were well with thee, and thou wert 
well puriiied from sin, all things would fall out to thee 
for good,i and to thy advancement. 

But many things displease and often trouble thee ; 
because thou art not yet perfectly dead unto thyself, 
nor separated from all earthly things. 

Nothing so defileth and entangleth the heart of man, 
as the impure love to creatures. 

If thou refuse outward comfort, thou wilt be able to 
contemplate the things of Heaven, and often to receive 
internal joy. 



CHAPTER II 

OF HUMBLE SUBMISSION 

Regard not much who is for thee, or against thee ; ^ 
but mind what thou art about, and take care that God 
may be with thee in every thing thou doest. 

Have a good conscience, and God will well defend 
thee.^ 

For whom God will help, no man's perverseness 
shall be able to hurt. 

If thou canst be silent and suffer, without doubt thou 
shalt see that the Lord will help thee. 

He knoweth the time and manner how to deliver 
thee, and therefore thou oughtest to resign thyself 
unto Him. 

It belongs to God to help, and to deliver from all 
confusion. 

It is often very profitable, to keep us more humble, 
that others know and rebuke our faults. 

Rom. viii. [28]. ^ Rom. viii. [31] ; 1 Cor. iv. [3]. 

Psalm XX viii. [7]. 



OF A GOOD PEACEABLE MAN 63 

II. AYhen a man humbleth himself for his failings, 
then he easily pacifieth others, and quickly satistietb 
those that are otfended with him. 

God protecteth the humble and delivereth him ; ^ the 
humble He loveth and comforteth ; unto the humble 
man He inclineth Himself ; unto the humble He giveth 
great grace ; and after his humiliation He raiseth him 
to glory. 

Unto the humble He revealeth His secrets,^ and 
sweetly draweth and inviteth him unto Himself. 

The humble person, though he suffer confusion, is 
yet tolerably well in peace ; for that he resteth on 
God, and not on the world. 

Do not think that thou hast made any progress, 
unless thou esteem thyseK inferior to all. 



CHAPTER HI 

OF A GOOD PEACEABLE MAN 

First, keep thyself in peace, and then shalt thou be 
able to pacify others. 

A peaceable man doth more good than he that is 
well learned. 

A passionate man draweth even good into evil, and 
easily believeth the worst. 

A good peaceable man turneth all things to good. 

He that is well in peace, is not suspicious of any.^ 
But he that is discontented and troubled, is tossed 
with divers suspicions : he is neither quiet himself, nor 
suffereth others to be quiet. 

He often speaketh that which he ought not to speak ; 
and omitteth that which were more expedient for him 
to do. 

He considereth what others are bound to do,* and 
neglecteth that which he is bound to himself. 

1 Jamea iii. [perhaps iv. 6] ; Job v. [H]. 

2 Matt. xi. [25]. * 1 Cor. xiii. [5]. 
Matt. vii. [3]. 



^-ij 



64 OF THE IMITATION OF CHRIST 

First therefore have a careful zeal over thyself/ and 
then thou mayest justly shew thyself zealous also of 
thy neighbour's good. 

II. Thou knowest well how to excuse and colour 
thine own deeds, but thou art not willing to receive 
the excuses of others. 

It were more just that thou shouldest accuse thyself, 
and excuse thy brother. 

If thou wilt be borne withal, bear also with another. ^ 

Behold, how far off thou art yet from true charity 
and humility ; for that knows not how to be angry 
with any, or to be moved with indignation, but only 
against one's self. 

It is no great matter to associate with the good, and 
gentle ; for this is naturally pleasing to all, and every 
one willingly enjoyeth peace, and loveth those best that 
agree with him. 

But to be able to live peaceably with hard, and perverse 
persons, or with the disorderly, or with such as go con- 
trary to us, is a great grace, and a most commendable 
and manly thing. 

III. Some there are that keep themselves in peace, 
and are in peace also with others. 

And there are some that neither are in peace them- 
selves, nor suffer others to be in peace : they are 
troublesome to others, but always more troublesome to 
themselves. 

And others there are that keep themselves in peace, 
and study to bring others unto peace. 

Nevertheless, our whole peace in this miserable life 
consisteth rather in humble sufferance, than in not 
feeling adversities. 

He that can best tell how to suffer, will best keep 
himself in peace. That man is conqueror of himself, 
and lord of the world, the friend of Christ, and heir of 
Heaven. 

Acts i. [perhaps xxii. 3]. 
Gal. vi. [2] ; 1 Cor. xiii. [7], 



A PURE MIND, AND SIMPLE INFENTION 55 
CHAPTER IV 

OF A PURE MIND, AND SIMPLE INTENTION 

By two M^ngs, a man is lifted up from things earthly, 
namely, by Simplicity and Purity. 

Simplicity ought to be in our intention ; Purity in our 
affections. Simplicity doth tend towards God ; Purity 
doth apprehend and taste Him. 

No good action will hinder thee, if thou be inwardly 
free from inordinate affection. 

If thou intend and seek nothing else but the will 
of God and the good of thy neighbour, thou shalt 
thoroughly enjoy internal liberty. 

If thy heart were sincere and upright, then every 
creature would be unto thee a looking-glass of life, ana 
a book of holy doctrine. 

There is no creature so small and abject, that it 
representeth not the goodness of God. ^ 

II. If thou wert inwardly good and pure,^ then 
wouldest thou be able to see and understand all things 
well without impediment. 

A pure heart penetrateth Heaven and hell. 

Such as every one is inwardly, so he judgeth out- 
wardly. 

If there be joy in the world, surely a man of a pure 
heart possesseth it. 

And if there be any where tribulation and affliction, 
an evil conscience best knows it. 

As iron put into the tire loseth its rust, and be- 
cometh clearly red hot, so he that wholly turneth 
himself unto God, puts off all slothfulness, and is trans- 
formed into a new man. 

III. W'^hen a man beginneth to grow lukewarm, then 
he is afraid of a little labour, and willingly receiveth 
external comfort. 

But wlien he once beginneth to overcome himself 

1 Rom. i. [20]. 

* Prov. iii. [3, 4] ; Psalm cxix. [100], 



56 OF THE IMITATION OF CHRIST 

perfectly, and to walk manfully in the way of God ; 
then he esteemeth those things to be light which 
before seemed grievous unto him. 



CHAPTER V 

OF THE CONSIDERATION OF ONe's SELF 

We cannot trust much to ourselves/ because grace 
oftentimes is wanting to us, and understanding also. 

There is but little light in us, and that which we have 
we quickly lose by our negligence. 

Oftentimes too we do not perceive our own inward 
blindness how great it is. 

We often do evil, and excuse it worse. ^ 

We are sometimes moved with passion, and we think 
it to be zeal. 

We reprehend small things in others, and pass over 
greater matters in ourselves.^ 

We quickly enough feel and weigh what we suffer at 
the hands of others ; but we mind not what others 
suffer from us. 

He that well and rightly considereth his own works, 
will find little cause to judge hardly of another. 

II. Tlie inward Christian preferreth the care of him- 
self before all other cares.* And he that diligently 
attendeth unto himself, can easily keep silence concern- 
ing others. 

Thou wilt never be thus inwardly religious, unless 
thou pass over other men's matters with silence, and 
look especially to thyself. 

It thou attend wholly unto God and thyself, thou 
wilt be but little moved with whatsoever thou seest 
abroad.^ 

Where art thou, when thou art not with thyself? 

1 Jer. xvii. [5]. ' Psalm cxli. [4]. 

Matt. vii. [5J. * Watt. xvi. [26J. 

1 Cor. iv. [3] ; Gal. i. [10]. 



OF THE JOY OF A GOOD CONSCIENCE 67 

And when thou hast run over all^ what hast thou then 
profited^ if thou hast neglected thyself. 

If thou desirest peace of mind and true unity of 
purpose, thou must still put all things behind thee^ and 
look only upon thyself. 

III. Thou shalt then make great progress, if thou keep 
thyself free from all temporal care. 

Thou shalt greatly fall back, if thou esteem temporal 
any thing. 

Let nothing be great unto thee, nothing high, nothing 
pleasing, nothing acceptable, but only God Himself, or 
that which is of God. 

Esteem all comfort vain,^ which thou receivest from 
any creature. 

A soul that loveth God, despiseth all things that are 
inferior unto God. 

God alone is everlasting, and of infinite greatness, 
filling all creatures ; the soul's solace, and the true joy 
of the heart. 



CHAPTER VI 

OF THK JOY OF A GOOD CONSCIENCB 

The glory of a good man, is the testimony of a good 
conscience. 2 

Have a good conscience, and thou shalt ever have joy. 

A good conscience is able to bear very much, and is 
very cheerful in adversities. 

An evil conscience is always fearful and unquiet.^ 

Thou shalt rest sweetly, if thy heart do not reprehena 
thee. 

Never rejoice, but when thou hast done well. 

Sinners have never true joy, nor feel inward peace ; 
because ' There is no peace to the wicked,' saith the 
Lord.* 

I Eccles. i. [14]. * 1 Cor. i. [31]. 

' Wisd. xvii. [11]. * Isaiah Ivii. [21], 



H 



68 OF THE IMITATION OF CHRIST 

And if they should say, 'We are in peace, no evil shall 
fall upon us,^ and who shall dare to hurt us ? ' believe 
them not ; for upon a sudden will arise the wrath of 
God, and their deeds shall be brought to nought, and 
their thoughts shall perish. 

II. To glory in tribulation, is no hard thing for him 
that loveth ; for so to glory, is to glory in the Cross of 
the Lord.^ 

That glory is short, which is given and received from 
men." 

Sorrow always accompanieth the world's glory. 

The glory of the good is in their consciences, and not 
in the tongues of men. The gladness of the just is of 
God,* and in God ; and their joy is of the Truth. 

He that desireth true and everlasting glory, careth 
not for that which is temporal. 

And he that seeketh temporal glory, or despiseth it 
not from his soul, sheweth himself to have but little 
esteem of the glory of Heaven. 

He enjoyeth great tranquillity of heart, that careth 
neither for the praises, nor dispraises of men. 

III. He will easily be content and pacified, whose 
conscience is pure. 

Thou art not the more holy, though thou be com- 
mended ; nor the more worthless, though thou be 
found fault with. 

What tliou art, that thou art ; neither by words canst 
thou be made greater, than what thou art in the sight 
of God. 

If thou consider what thou art within thee, thou 
wilt not care what men talk of thee. 

Man looketh on the countenance, but God on tlie 
heart.* Man considereth the deeds, but God weigheth 
the intentions. 

To be always doing well, and to esteem little of one's 
self, is the sign of an humble soul 

> Lukexii. [19]. 

^ Rom. viii. [perhaps v. 3] ; Gal. vi. [14j. 
John V. [44]. 2 Cor. iu. [51. 

1 Sam. xvi. [7]. 



THE LOVE OF JESUS ABOVE ALL THINGS 69 

To refuse to be comforted by any creature, is a sigu 
of great purity, and inward confidence. 

IV. He that seeketh no witness for himself from with- 
out, doth shew that he hath wholly committed himself 
unto God. 

' For not he that commendeth himself, the same is 
approved, (saith Saint Paul,) but whom God com- 
mendeth.' 1 

To walk inwardly with God, and not to be kept 
abroad by any outward affection, is the state of a 
spiritual man. 



CHAPTER VH 

OF THE LOVE OF JESUS ABOVE ALL THINGS 

Blessed is he that understandeth ^ what it is to love 
Jesus, and to despise himself for Jesus' sake. 

Thou oughtest to leave [thy] beloved, for [thy] 
Beloved ; ^ for that Jesus will be loved alone above all 
things. 

The Icve of things created is deceitful and incon- 
stant ; the love of Jesus is faithful and persevering. 

He that cleaveth unto creatures, shall fall with that 
which is subject to fall ; he that embraceth Jesus shall 
stand firmly for ever. 

Love Him, and keep Him for thy friend, who when 
all go away, will not -forsake thee, nor suffer thee to 
perish in the end. 

Some time or other thou must be separated from all, 
whether thou wilt or no. 

H. Keep close to Jesus both in life and in death, and 
commit thyself unto His trust, who, when all fail, can 
alone help thee. 

Thy Beloved is of that nature, that He will admit of 



2 Cor. X. [18]. Psalm cxix. [1, 2]. 

' Deut. vi. [5] ; Matt. xxii. [37]. 



3 



60 OF THE IMITATION OF CHRIST 

no rival ; but will have thy heart alone, and sit on Hig 
own throne as King. 

If thou couldest empty thyself perfectly from all 
creatures, Jesus would willingly dwell with thee. 

Wliatsoever thou reposest in men, out of Jesus, is all 
little better than lost. 

Trust not nor lean upon a reed full of wind ; for that 
all flesh is grass, and all the glory thereof shall wither 
away as the flower of the field. ^ 

III. Thou shalt quickly be deceived, if thou only 
look to the outward appearance of men. 

For if in others thou seekest thy comfort and profit, 
thou shalt too often feel loss. 

If thou seekest Jesus in all things, thou shalt surely 
find Jesus. 

But if thou seekest thyself, thou shalt also find thy- 
self, but to thine own destruction. 

For man doth more hurt himself if he seek not Jesus, 
than the whole world and all his adversaries [could 
injure himj. 



--vx CHAPTER VIII 

OF FAMILIAR CONVERSE WITH JESU9 

When Jesus is present, all is well, and nothing seems 
difficult ; but when Jesus is absent, every thing is 
hard. 

When Jesus speaks not inwardly to us, all other com- 
fort is nothing worth ; but if Jesus speak but one word, 
we feel great consolation. 

Did not Mary Magdalene rise immediately from the 
place where she wept, when Martha said to her, ' The 
Master is come, and calleth for thee } ' ^ 

Happy hour ! when Jesus calleth from tears to 
spiritual joy. 

How dry and hard art thou without Jesus! How 

I Isaiah xl. [6], ' John xi. [28], 



OF FAMILIAR CONVERSE WITH JESUS 61 

foolish and vain, if thou desire any thing out of 
Jesus ! 

Is not this a greater loss, than if thou shouldest lose 
the whole world ? ^ 

II. M'hat can the world profit thee without Jesus ? 
To be without Jesus is a grievous hell ; and to be 

with Jesus, a sweet paradise. 

Ilf Jesus be with thee, no enemy shall be able to 
hurt thee.^ 

He that findeth Jesus, findeth a good treasure,^ yea, 
a Good above all good. 

And he that loseth Jesus, loseth much indeed, yea, 
more than the whole world ! 

Most poor is he who liveth without Jesus ; * and he 
most rich who is well with Jesus. 

III. It is matter of great skill to know how to hold 
converse with Jesus ; and to know how to keep Jesus, 
a point of great wisdom. 

Be thou humble and peaceable, and Jesus will be with 

thee.^ 

Be devout and quiet, and Jesus will stay with 

thee. 

Thou mayest soon drive away Jesus, and lose His 
favour, if thou wilt turn aside to outward things. 

And if thou shouldest drive Him from thee, and lose 
Him, unto whom wilt thou flee, and whom wilt thou 
then seek for thy friend ? 

Without a friend thoa canst not well live ; and if 
Jesus be not above all a friend to thee, thou shalt be 
indeed sad and desolate. 

Thou actest therefore like an idiot, if thou trust or 
rejoice in any other. ^ 

It is preferable to have all the world against us, 
rather than to have Jesus offended with us. 

Amongst all tlierefore that be dear unto us, let Jesus 
alone be specially beloved. 

IV. Love all for Jesus, but Jesus for Himself. 

1 Matt. xvi. [26]. ' Rom. viii. [35] 

Matt. xiii. [44], * Luke xii. [21]. 



t 



Prov. iii. [17]. Gal. vi. [14], 



62 OF THE IMITATION OF CHRIST 

Jesus Christ alone is singularly to be beloved ; who 
alone is found Good and Faithful above all friends. 

For Him, and in Him, let as well friends as foes be 
dear unto thee ; and all these are tc be prayed for^ 
that He would make them all to know and love Hini.^ 

Never desire to be singularly commended or beloved, 
for that appertaineth only unto God, who hath none 
like unto Himself. 

Neither do thou desire that the heart of any should 
be set on thee, nor do thou set thy heart on the love of 
any ; but let Jesus be in thee, and in every good man. 

V. Be pure and free within, and entangle not thy 
heart with any creature. 

Thou oughtest to be naked and open before God, 
ever carrying thy heart pure towards Him, if thou 
wouldest be free to consider and see how sweet the 
Lord is. 

And truly, unless thou be prevented and drawn by 
His grace, thou shalt never attain to that happiness to 
forsake and take leave of all, that thou alone mayest be 
united to Him alone. 

For when the grace of God cometh unto a man, then 
he is made able for all things. And when It goeth 
away, then is he poor and weak, and as it were left only 
for the lash and scourge. 

In this case thou oughtest not to be dejected, nor to 
despair ; but at God's will to stand steadily, and what- 
ever comes upon thee, to endure it for the glory of 
Jesus Christ ; for after winter followeth summer, after 
night the day returneth, and after a tempest a great 
calm. 

Matt. V. [44] ; Luke vi. [27, 28]. 



OF THE WANT OF ALL COMFORT 63 
CHAPTER IX 

OP THK WANT OF ALL COMFORT 

It is no hard matter to despise human comfort^ when 
we have divine. 

It is much and very much, to be able to want both 
human and divine comfort ; ' and, for God^s honour, 
to be willing cheerfully to endure banishment of heart ; 
and to seek himself in nothing, nor to regard his own 
merit. 

What great matter is it, if at the coming of Grace 
thou be cheerful and devout.'' this hour is wished for of 
all men. 

He rideth easily enough whom the grace of God 
carrieth. 

And what marvel if he feel not his burden, who is 
borne up by the Almighty, and led by the Sovereign 
Guide ? 

II. We are always willing to have something for 
our comfort ; and a man doth not without difficulty 
strip himself of self. 

The holy martyr Laurence with his priest, overcame 
the world, because whatsoever seemed delightsome in 
the world he despised ; and for the love of Christ he 
patiently suffered God's chief Priest Sixtus, whom he 
most dearly loved, to be even taken away from him. 

He therefore overcame the love of man by the love 
of the Creator ; and he rather chose what pleased God, 
than human comfort. 

So also do thou learn to part even with a near and 
dear friend, for the love of God. 

Nor do thou take it hard, when thou art deserted by 
a friend, as knowing that we all at last must be 
separated one from another. 

III. A man must strive long and mightily within 
himself, before he can learn fully to master himself, 
and to draw his whole heart into God. 

Phil. ii. [12]. 



64 OF THE IMITATION OF CHRIST 

When a man trusteth in himself, he easily slideth 
unto human comforts. 

But a true lover of Christ, and a diligent follower of 
all virtue, does not fall back on comforts, nor seek 
such sensible sweetnesses ; but rather prefers hard 
exercises, and to sustain severe labours for Christ. 

IV. When therefore spiritual comfort is given thee 
from God, receive it with thankfulness ; but under- 
stand that it is the ^ift of God, nor any desert of 
thine. 

Be not puffed up, be not too joyful nor vainly pre- 
sumptuous ; but rather be the more humble for that 
gift, more wary too and fearful in all thine actions ; for 
that hour will pass away, and temptation will follow. 

When consolation is taken from, thee, do not im- 
mediately despair ; but with humility and patience wait 
for the heavenly visitation ; for God is able to give thee 
back again more ample consolation. 

This is nothing new nor strange unto them that have 
experience in the way of God ; for the great Saints and 
ancient Prophets had oftentimes experience of such 
kind of vicissitudes. 

.V, For which cause, one under the enjoyment of 
divine Grace, said, ' I said in my prosperity, I shall 
never be moved.' ^ 

But in the want of this Grace, what he found in 
himself he goes on thus to speak of, ' Thou didst turn 
Thy face from me, and I was troubled.' 

Yet in the midst of all this he doth not by any 
means despair, but more earnestly beseecheth the 
Lord, and saith, 'Unto Thee, O Lord, will I cr.y, 
and I will pray unto my God.' 

At length, he receives the fruit of his prayer, and 
testifies that he was heard, saying, 'The Lord hath 
heard me, and taken pity on me ; the Lord is become 
my helper.' 

But wherein? ' Thou hast turned,' saith he, 'my 
sorrow into joy, and Thou hast compassed me about 
with gladness.' 

Psalm XXX. [611]. 



OF THE WANT OF ALL COMFORT 65 

If great Saints were so dealt with, we that are weak 
and poor ought not to despair, if we be sometimes 
fervent and sometimes cold ; for the Spirit cometh 
and goeth, according to the good pleasure of His own 
will. 1 For which cause blessed Job saith, ' Thou 
visitest him early in the morning, and suddenly Thou 
pro vest him.'^ 

VI. Whereupon then can I hope, or wherein ought I 
to trust, save in the great mercy of God alone, and in 
the only hope of heavenly grace } 

For whether I have with me good men, either 
religious brethren, or faithful friends ; whether holy 
books, or beautiful treatises, or sweet psalms anil 
hymns ; all these help but little, and have but little 
savour, when Grace forsaketh me, and I am left in 
mine own poverty. 

At such time there is no better remedy than pa- 
tience, and the denying of myself according to the will 
of God. 3 

VII. I never found any so religious and devout, that 
he had not sometimes a withdrawing of grace, or felt 
not some decrease of zeal. 

There was never Saint so highly rapt and illuminated, 
who first or last was not tempted. 

For he is not worthy of the high contemplation of 
God, who hath not been exercised with some tribulation 
for God's sake. 

For temptation going before, is wont to be a sign of 
ensuing comfort. 

For unto those that are proved by temptations, 
heavenly comfort is promised. "^He that shall over- 
come,' saith He, ' I will give him to eat of the Tree 
of life.'* 

VIII. But divine consolation is given, that a man 
may be bolder to bear adversities. 

There followeth also temptation, lest he should wax 
proud of any good. 

1 Johniu. [8]. Job vii. [18]. 

Luke ix. [23]. Rev. ii. [7]. 



66 OF THE IMITATION OF CHRIST 

The devil sleepeth not^^ neither is the flesh as yet 
dead ; therefore cease not to prepare thyself to the 
battle ; for on thy right baud and on thy left are 
enemies who never rest. 



CHAPTER X 

OF GRATITUDE FOR THE GRACE OF GOD 

Why seekest thou rest^ since thou art born to labour r^ 

Dispose thyself to patience rather than to comfort, 
and to the bearing of the Cross, rather than to 
gladness.^ 

What secular person is there that would not will- 
ingly receive spiritual joy and comfort, if he could 
always have it? 

For spiritual comforts exceed all the delights of the 
world, and pleasures of the flesh. 

For all worldly delights are either vain or unclean ; 
but spiritual deliglits are only pleasant and honest, 
sprung from virtue, and infused by God into pure 
minds. 

But no man can always enjoy these divine comforts 
according to his desire ; for the time of temptation is 
not long away. 

II. But false freedom of mind and great confidence 
of ourselves is very contrary to heavenly visitations. 

God doth well for us in giving the grace of comfort ; 
but man doth evil in not returning all again unto God 
with thanksgiving. 

And therefore the gifts of Grace cannot flow in us, 
because we are unthankful to the Giver, and return 
them not wholly to the Head fountain.* 

For Grace ever attendeth him that is duly thankful ; 
and from the proud shall be taken that which is wont 
to be given to the humble. 

> 1 Pet. v, [8]. Jobv. [7]. 

Luke xiv. [27], EccluB. i. [6]. 



GRATITUDE FOR THE GRACE OF GOD 67 

111. I iesire not that consolation that taketh from me 
compunciion ; nor do 1 affect that contemplation which 
leadeth to haughtiness of mind. 

For all that is high, is not holy ; nor all that is 
sweet, good ; nor every desire, pure ; nor is everything 
that is dear unto us, pleasing to God. 

A\'^illingly do I accept of that grace, whereby I may 
ever be found more humble, and more affected with 
fear, and may become more ready to renounce myself. 

He that is taught by the gift of Grace, and schooled 
by the scourge of the withdrawing thereof, will not 
dare to attribute any good to himself, but will rather 
acknowledge himself poor and naked. 

Give unto God that which is God's,^ and ascribe unto 
thyself that which is thine own ; that is, give thanks to 
God for His grace ; and acknowledge that to thyself 
alone is to be attributed sin, and the punishment due 
to sin. 

]V. Set thyself always in the lowest place ^ and the 
liighest shall be given thee ; for the highest cannot 
stand without the lowest. 

'ITie chiefest Saints before God, are the least in their 
own judgments ; and the more glorious they are, so 
much the humbler within themselves. 

Those that are full of truth and heavenly glory, are 
not desirous of vain-glory. 

'Hiose tliat are firmly settled and grounded in God, 
can no way be proud. 

And they that ascribe all unto God, what good soever 
they have received, seek not glory one of another, but 
wish for that glory which is from God alone ; and de- 
sire above all things that God may be praised in Him- 
self, and in all His Saints ; and are always tending to 
this very thing. 

V. Be therefore thankful for the least gift, so shalt 
thou be meet to receive greater. 

Let the least be unto thee even as the greatest, yea 
the most contemptible gift as of especial value. 

If thou consider the worth of the Giver, no gift will 
> Matt. xxii. [21]. Luke xiv, [10]. 



68 OF THE IMITATION OF CHRIST 

seem little, or of too mean esteem. For that cannot be 
little which is given by the Most High God. 

Yeaj if He should give punishment and stripes, it 
ought to be matter of thankfulness ; because He doth 
it always for our welfare, whatsoever He permitteth to 
happen unto us. 

He that desireth to keep the grace of God, let him 
be thankful for grace given, and patient for the taking 
away thereof : let him pray that it may return : let 
him be cautious and humble, lest he lose it. 



CHAFfER XI 

HOW FEW ARE THE LOVERS OF THE CROSS OF JESUS 

Jesus hath now many lovers of His heavenly king- 
dom, but few bearers of His Cross. 

He hath many desirous of consolation, but few of 
tribulation. 

He findeth many companions of His table, but few of 
His abstinence. 

All desire to rejoice with Him, few are willing to 
endure any thing for Him, or with Him. 

Many follow Jesus unto the breaking of bread ; but 
few to the drinking of the cup of His Passion.^ 

Many reverence His miracles, few follow the igno- 
miny of His Cross. 

Many love Jesus so long as no adversities befall 
them. 

Many praise and bless Him, so long as they receive 
any consolations from Him. 

But if Jesus hide Himself, and leave them but a little 
while ; they fall either into complaining, or into too 
much dejection of mind, 

II. But they who love Jesus for the sake of Jesus, 
and not for some special comfort of their own, bless 

* Luke ix. [14] ; xxii. [41, 42], 



THE LOVERS OF THE CROSS ARE FEW 69 

Him in all tribulation and anguish of heart, as well as 
in the state of highest comfort. 

Yea although He should never be willing to give 
them comfort, thev notwithstanding would ever praise 
Him, and wish to be always giving thanks. 

HI. O how powerful is the pure love of Jesus, which 
is mixed with no self-interest, or self-love ! 

Are not all those to be called mercenary, who are 
ever seeking consolations.'' 

Do they not shew themselves to be rather lovers of 
themselves than of Christ, who are always thinking of 
their own profit and advantage ? ^ 

^V'here shall one be found who is willing to serve 
God for nought ? 

IV. Rarely is any one found so spiritual as to be 
stript of all things. 

For where is any man to be found that is indeed poor 
in spirit, and thoroughly void of all affection of crea- 
tures .'' ' From afar, yea from the ends of the earth, 
is his value.' ^ 

If a man should give all his substance, yet is it 
nothing. 

And if he should practise great repentance, still it is* 
little. 

And if he should attain to all knowledge, he is still 
afar off. 

And if he should be of great virtue, and of very 
fervent devotion, yet there is much wanting : espe- 
cially, one thing, which is most necessary for him. 

AVhat is that .'' That leaving all, he forsake himself, 
and go wholly from himself,^ and retain nothing out of 
self-love. 

And when he hath done all that is to be done, so 
far as he knoweth, let him think that he hath done 
nothing. 

V. Let him not weigh that much, which might be 
much esteemed ; but let him pronounce himself to be 
in truth an unprofitable servant, as the Truth Himself 

1 Phil. ii. [21]. 2 prov. xxxi. [10. Lntin version]. 

' Matt. xvi. [24]. 



70 OF THE liMITATiOX OF CHRIST 

saith, 'When you shall have done all things that 
are commanded you, say, We are unprofitable ser- 
vants. ' * 

Then may he be truly poor and naked in ppirit, and 
say with the Prophet, ' I am alone and poor.' ^ 

Yet no man richer than he, no man more powerful, 
no man more free ; for he is able to leave himself 
and all things, and to set himself in the lowest place. 



CHAPTER Xn. 

OF THE king's HIGH WAY OF THE HOLY CR0:?S 

Unto many this seemeth an hard speech, ' Deny 
thyself, take up thy cross, and follow Jesus.' ^ 

But much harder will it be to hear that last word, 
'Depart from Me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire.' * 

For they who now willingly hear and follow the word 
of the Cross, shall not then fear ^ to hear the sentence 
of everlasting damnation. 

This sign of the Cross shall be in the Heaven, when 
the Lord shall come to judgment. 

Then all the servants of the Cross, who in their life- 
time conformed themselves unto Christ crucified, shall 
draw near unto Christ the Judge with great confidence. 

n. Why therefore fearest thou to take up the Cross 
which leadeth thee to a kingdom ? 

In the Cross is salvation, in the Cross is life, in the 
Cross is protection against our enemies, in the Cross is 
infusion of heavenly sweetness, in the Cross is strength 
of mind, in the Cross joy of spirit, in the Cross the 
height of virtue, in the Cross the perfection of sanctity. 

There is no salvation of the soul, nor hope of ever- 
lasting life, but in tlie Cross. 

Take up therefore thy Cross and follow Jksus,^ and 



' Luke xvii. [10]. 
' Matt. xvi. [24 . 


2 Psalm XXV. [Ifi]. 


< Jlatt. XXV. [41], 


* Psalm cxii. [7]. 


Luke xiv. [27]. 



OF THE HIGH WAY OF THE HOLY CROSS 71 

thou shalt go into life everlasting. He went before, 
bearing His Cross/ and died for tlaee on the Cross ; 
that thou mayest also bear thy Cross and desire to die 
on the Cross with Him. 

For if thou be dead with Him, thou shalt also live 
with Him. And if thou be His companion in punish- 
ment, thou shalt be partaker with Him also in glory.- 

HI. Behold ! in the Cross all doth consist, and all 
lieth in our dying thereon ; for there is no other way 
unto life, and unto true inward peace, but the way of 
the holy Cross, and of daily mortification. 

Go where thou wilt, seek whatsoever thou wilt, thou 
shalt not find a higher way above, nor a safer way 
below, than the way of the holy Cross. 

Dispose and order all things according to thy will 
and judgment ; yet thou shalt ever find, that of 
necessity thou must suffer somewhat, either willingly 
or against thy will, and so thou shalt ever find the 
Cross. 

For either thou shalt feel pain in thy body, or in thy 
soul thou shalt suffer tribulation of spirit. 

IV. Sometimes thou shalt be forsaken of God, some- 
times thou shalt be troubled by thy neighbours ; and, 
what is more, oftentimes thou shalt be wearisome to 
thyself. 

Neither canst thou be delivered or eased by any 
remedy or comfort ; but so long as it pleaseth God, 
thou oughtest to bear it. 

For God will have thee learn to suffer tribulation 
without comfort ; and that thou subject thyself wholly 
to Him, and by tribulation become more humble. 

No man hath so cordial a feeling of the Passion of 
Christ, as he who hath suffered the like himself. 

The Cross therefore is always ready, and every where 
waits for thee. 

Thou canst not escape it whithersoever thou runnest ; 
for wheresoever thou goest, thou carriest thyself with 
I thee, and shalt ever find thyself. 

* Both above and below, without and within, which 
> John XIX. [17]. ' 2 Cor. i. [5], 



72 OF THE IMITATION OF CHRIST 

way soever thou dost turn thee, every where thou shalt 
find the Cross ; and every where of necessity thou 
must hold fast patience, if thou wilt have inward peace, 
and enjoy an everlasting crown. 

V. If thou bear the Cross cheerfully, it will bear 
thee, and lead thee to the desired end, namely, where 
there shall be an end of suffering, though here there 
shall not be. 

If thou bear it unwillingly, thou makest for thyself a 
burden, and increasest thy load, and yet notwithstand- 
ing thou must bear it. 

If thou cast away one cross, without doubt thou shalt 
find another, and that perhaps a more heavy one. 

VI. Thinkest thou to escape that which no mortal 
man could ever avoid.'' Which of the Saints in the 
world was without crosses, and tribulation ? 

For not even our Lord Jesus Christ was ever one 
hour without the anguish of His Passion, so long as He 
lived. 'Christ' (saith He) 'must needs suffer, and 
rise again from the dead, and so enter into His glory.' ^ 
And how dost thou seek any other way than this royal 
way, which is the way of the holy Cross ? 

VTI. Christ's whole life was a Cross and Martyrdom : 
and dost thou seek rest and joy for thyself.'' 

Thou art deceived, thou art deceived if thou seek any 
other thing than to suffer tribulations ; for this whole 
mortal life is full of miseries,^ and signed on every side 
with crosses. 

And the higher a person hath advanced in the Spirit, 
so much the heavier crosses he oftentimes findeth ; 
because the grief of his banishment increases with his 
love to God. 
\^ VIII. Nevertheless this man, though so many ways 
aflHicted, is not without refreshing comfort, for that he 
perceiveth very much benefit to accrue unto him by the 
enduring of his own cross. 

For whilst he willingly putteth himself under it, all 
the burden of tribulation is turned into the confidence 
of Divine comfort. 

Luke xxiv. [26], Job vii. fl]. 



OF THE HIGH WAY OF THE HOLY CROSS 73 

And the more the flesh is wasted by affliction, so much 
the more is the spirit strengthened by inward grace. 

And sometimes he is so comforted with the desire of 
tribulation and adversity, for the love of conformity to 
the Cross of Christ, that he would not wish to be with- 
out grief and tribulation ; ^ because he believes that he 
shall be unto God so much the more acceptable, the 
more, and the more grievous things he can suffer for 
Him. 

This is not the power of man, but it is the grace of 
Christ, which can and doth so much in frail flesh ; so 
that what naturally it always abhors and flees from, 
that by fervour of spirit it encounters and loves. 

IX. It is not according to man's inclination to bear 
the Cross, to love the Cross, to chastise the body, and 
bring it into subjection, to flee honours, willingly to 
suffer contumelies, to despise himself and to wish to be 
despised, to endure all adversities and damages, and to 
desire no prosperity in this world. 

If thou look to thyself, thou shalt be able of thyself 
to accomplish nothing of this kind.- 

But if thou trust in the Lord, fortitude shall be given 
thee from Heaven, and the world and tlie flesh shall be 
made subject to thy command. 

Neither shalt thou fear thy enemy the devil, if thou 
be armed with faith, and signed with the Cross of Christ, 

X. Set thyself therefore, like a good and faithful 
servant of Christ, to bear manfully the Cross of thy 
Lord, who out of love was crucified for thee. 

Prepare thyself to bear many adversities and divers 
kinds of troubles in this miserable life ; for so it will 
be with thee, wheresoever thou art, and so surely thou 
shalt find it, wheresoever thou hide thyself. 

So it must be ; nor is there any remedy or means to 
escape from tribulation and sorrow, but only to endure 
thyself. 

Drink of the Lord's cup^ with hearty affection, if thou 
desire to be His friend, and to have part with Him. 

> 2 Cor. iv. [16] ; xi. [2330]. 2 2 Cor. iii. [5]. 

' Matt. XX. [23] ; John xviii. [11]. 



74 OF THE IMITATION OF CHRIST 

As for comforts, leave them to God ; let Him do 
therein as shall best please Him. 

But do thou set thyself to suffer tribulations, and 
account them the greatest comforts ; for the sufferings 
of this present time, although thou alone couldest suffer 
them all, cannot worthily deserve the glory which is to 
come. 

XI. When thou shalt come to this estate, that tribu- 
lation 1 shall seem sweet, and thou shalt relish it for 
Christ's sake ; then tliink it to be well with thee, for thou 
hast found a Paradise upon'earth. 

As long as it is grievous to thee to suffer, and that 
thou desirest to flee it, so long shalt thou be ill at ease, 
and the desire of escaping tribulation will fallow thee 
every where. 

XII. If thou dost set thyself to that thou oughtest, 
namely, to suffering, and to death, it will quickly be 
better with thee, and thou shalt find peace. 

Although thou shouldest have been rapt even unto the 
third heaven with Paul,^ thou art not for this secured 
that thou shalt suffer no adversity. ' I will shew him ' 
(saith Jesus) ' how great things he must suffer for My 
Name. ' ^ 

It remaineth therefore, that thou suffer, if it please 
thee to love Jksus, and to serve Him perpetually. 

XIII. O that thou wert worthy to suffer something 
for the Name of Jesus ! * How great glory would 
remain unto thyself ; what joy would arise to all God's 
Saints ; how great edification also to thy neighbour ! 

For all men recommend patience ; few, however, tliey 
are who are willing to suffer. 

With great reason oughtest thou cheerfully to suffer 
some little for Christ's sake ; since many suffer more 
grievous things for the world. 

XIV. Know for certain, that thou oughtest to lead a 
dying life.^ And the more any man dieth to himself, 
so much the more doth he begin to live unto God. 

Rom. V. r.S] ; Gal. vi. [14]. = 2 Cor. xii. [4]. 

Acts ix. [1(5]. Acts V. [41]. 

Psalm xliv. [22]. 



OF THE HIGH WAY OF THE HOLY CROSS 75 

i 

No man is fit to comprehend things Heavenly, unless 
he submit himself to the bearing of adversities for 
Christ's sake. 

Nothing is more acceptable to God, nothing more 
wholesome to thee in this world, than to suffer cheerfully 
for Christ. 

And if thou couldest choose, thou oughtest rather to 
wish to suffer adversities for Christ, than to be refreshed 
with many consolations ; because thou wouldest thus 
be more like unto Christ, and more conformable to all 
the Saints. 

For our worthiness, and the proficiency of our 
spiritual estate consisteth not in many sweetnesses and 
comforts ; but rather in thoroughly enduring great 
afflictions and tribulations. 

XV. Indeed if there had been any better thing, and 
more profitable to man's salvation, than suffering, 
surely Christ would have shewed it by word and 
example. 

For both the disciples that followed Him, and also all 
who desire to follow Him, He plainly exhorteth to the 
bearing of the Cross, and saith, ' If any will come 
after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his Cross, 
and follow Me.' ^ 

So that when we have thoroughly read and searched 
all, let this be the final conclusion, 'That through 
many tribulations we must enter into the kingdom of 
God.' 2 

Luke ix. [23]. * Acta xiv. [22]. , 



THE THIRD BOOK 
OF INTERNAL CONSOLATION 

CHAPTER I 

OF Christ's speaking inwardly to the faithful soul 

'I WILL hearken what the Lord God will speak in 
me.' ^ 

Blessed is the soul which heareth the Lord speaking 
within her,^ and receiveth from His mouth the word of 
consolation. 

Blessed are the ears that gladly receive the pulses of 
the Divine whisper,^ and give no heed to the many 
whisperings of this world. 

Blessed indeed are those ears which listen not after 
the voice which is sounding without, but for the Truth 
teaching inwardly. 

Blessed are the eyes which are shut to outward things, 
but intent on things eternal. 

Blessed are they that enter far into inward things, 
and endeavour to prepare themselves more and more, by 
daily exercises, for the receiving of Heavenly secrets. 

Blessed are they who are glad to have time to spare 
for God, and shake off all worldly impediments. 

II. Consider these things, O my soul, and shut up the 
door of thy sensual desires, that thou mayest hear what 
the Lord thy God shall speak in thee.* 

Thus saith thy Beloved, I am thy Salvation,* thy 

> Psalm Ixxxv. [8]. '1 Sam. ii. [9]. 

Matt. xiii. [10, 17]. " Psalm Ixxxv. [8]. 

^ Psalm XXXV. [3]. 



OF THE TRUTH SPEAKING IMrARDLY 77 

Peace, and thy Life : keep thyself with Me, and thou 
shalt find peace. 

Let go all transitory things, and seek those that be 
everlasting. 

What are all temporal things but seducing snares ? 
and what can all creatures avail thee, if thou be forsaken 
bv the Creator } 

' Bid farewell therefore to all things else, and labour 
to please thy Creator, and to be faithful unto Him, that 
so thou mayest be able to attain unto true blessedness. 



CHAPTER II 

THAT THE TRUTH SPEAKETH INWARDLY WITHOUT 
NOISE OF WORUS 

Speak, O Lord, for Thy servant heareth.^ 

I am Thy servant, grant me understanding, that I 
may know Thy testimonies.^ 

Incline my heart to the words of Thy mouth : let Thy 
speech distil as the dew. 

The children of Israel in times past said unto Moses, 
'Speak thou unto us, and we wiU hear : let not the 
Lord speak unto us, lest we die.'^ 

Not so, Lord, not so, I beseech Thee : but rather 
with the prophet Samuel, I humbly and earnestly 
entreat, 'Speak, Lord, for Thy servant heareth.' 

Let not INIoses speak unto me, nor any of the prophets, 
but rather do Thou speak, O Lord God, Inspirer and 
Eulighteuer of all the Prophets ; for Thou alone., with- 
out them canst perfectly instruct me, but they without 
Thee can profit nothing. 

II. They indeed may sound forth words, but they 
cannot give the Spirit. 

Most beautifully do they speak, but if Thou be silent, 
they inflame not the heart. 

> Sam. ill. [9]. ^ Psalm cxix. [125]. 

Exod. XX. [19]. 



78 OF THE IMITATION OF CHRIST 

They teach the letter, but Thou openest the sense : 
they bring forth mysteries, but Thou unlockest the 
meaning of sealed things. 

They declare Thy commandments, but Thou helpest 
as to fulfil them. 

They point out the way, but Thou givest strength to 
walk in it. 

What they can do is only without, but Thou in- 
structest and enlightenest the heart. 

They water outwardly, but Thou givest fruitfulness. 

They cry aloud in words, but Thou impartest under- 
standing to the hearing. 

111. Let not Moses therefore speak unto me, but 
Thou, O Lord my God, the Everlasting Truth ; lest I 
die, and prove unfruitful, if I be only warned out- 
wardly, and not inflamed within. 

Lest it turn to my condemnation, the word heard 
and not fulfilled, known and not loved, believed and 
not observed. 

Speak therefore. Lord, for Thy servant heareth : for 
Thou hast the words of eternal life.' 

Speak Thou unto me, to the comfort, however im- 
perfect, of my soul, and to the amendment of my 
whole life, and to Thy praise and glory and honour 
everlasting. 



CHAPTER III 

THAT THE WORDS OF GOD ARE TO BE HEARD WITH 
HUMILITY, AND THAT MANY WEIGH THEM NOT 

My son, hear My words, words of greatest sweetness, 
surpassing all the knowledge of the philosophers and 
wise men of this world. ' My words are Spirit and 
Life,' ^ and not to be weighed by the understanding of 
man. 

They are not to be drawn forth for vain approbation,, 
I John vi. [68]. ' John vi. [63]. 



HEARING GOD'S WORDS WITH HUMILITY 79 

but to be heard in silence, and to be received with all 
humility and great affection. 

And I said. Blessed is the man whom Thou shalt 
instruct, O Lord, and shalt teach out of Thy Law, that 
Thou mayest give him rest from the evil days,' and 
that he be not desolate upon eartii. 

II. I TAUGHT the Prophets from the beginning,^ 
(saith the Lord,) and cease not, even to this day, to 
speak to all ; but many are hardened, and deaf to My 
voice. 

The generality of persons do more willingly listen to 
the world than to God ; they sooner follow the desires 
of their own flesh, than God's good pleasure. 

The world promiseth things temporal and mean, and 
is served with great eagerness : I promise things most 
high and eternal, and yet the hearts of men remain 
torpid and insensible. 

AVho is there that in all things serveth and obeyeth 
Me with so great care as the world and its lords are 
served withal ? ' Be asliamed, O Sidon, saith the 
sea.' 3 And if thou ask the cause, hear wherefore. 

For a small income, a long journey is undertaken ; 
for everlasting life, many will scarce once lift a foot 
from the ground. 

The most pitiful reward is sought after ; for a single 
bit of money sometimes tiiere is shameful contention ; 
for a vain matter and slight promise, men fear not to 
toil day and night. 

III. But, alas ! for an unchangeable good, for an 
inestimable reward, for the liighest honour, and glory 
without end, they grudge even the least fatigue. 

Be ashamed, therefore, thou slothful and complain- 
ing servant, that they are found to be more ready to 
destruction than thou to life. 

They rejoice more in vanity than thou dost in the 
truth. 

Sometimes, indeed, they are frustrated of their hope ; 

Psalm xciv. [12, 13]. Heb. i. [1]. 

^ Isaiah .\xiii, [4]. 



80 OF THE IMITATION OF CHRIST 

but My promise deceiveth noiie,i nor seudeth him away 
empty that trusteth in Me. 

What I have promised, I will g-ive ; what I have 
said, I will fulfil ; if only any man remain faithful in 
My love even to the end. 

I am the Rewarder of all good men,^ and the strong 
Approver of all who are devoted to Me. 

IV. Write thou My words in thy heart, and meditate 
diligently on them ; for in time of temptation they will 
be very needful for thee. 

What thou understandest not when thou readest, 
thou shalt know in the day of visitation. 

In two several ways, I am wont to visit Mine elect, 
namely with temptation and with consolation. 

And I daily read two lessons to them, one in reprov- 
ing their vices, another in exhorting them to the 
increase of all virtues. 

He that hath My words and despiseth them, hath 
One that shall judge him in the last day. 

V. A Prayer to implore the grace of Devotion. 

O Lord my God ! Thou art to me whatsoever is good. 
And who am I, that I should dare speak to Thee ? ^ I 
am Thy poorest meanest servant, and a most vile worm, 
much more poor and contemptible than I can or dare 
express. 

Yet do Thou remember me, O Lord, because I am 
nothing, I have nothing, and I can do nothing. 

Tliou alone art Good, Just, and Holy ; Thou canst 
do all things. Thou accomplishest all things. Thou 
fillest all things, only the sinner Thou leavest empty. 

Remember Thy mercies, and fill my heart with Thy 
grace. Thou who wilt not that Thy works should be 
void and in vain. 

VI. How can I bear up myself in this miserable life, 
unless Thou strengthen me with Thy mercy and 



grace ? 



Kom. i. [16] ; Matt. xxiv. [35]. 

2 Rev. ii. l23] ; Matt. v. [6] ; xxv. [21]. 

Gen. xviii. [27] ; 1 Sam. xviii. [18, 23]. 



OF WALKING IN TRUTH AND HUMILITY 81 

Turn not Thy face away from me ; ' delay not Iliy 
visitation ; withdraw not Thy consolation, lest my soul 
become as a thirsty land unto Thee. 

Teach me, O Lord, to do Thy will ; 2 teach me to 
live worthily and humbly in Thy sight ; for Thou art 
my Wisdom, Thou dost truly know me, and didst 
know me before the world was made, and before I was 
born in the world. 



CHAPTER IV 

THAT WB OUGHT TO LIVE IN TRUTH AND HUMILITY 
BEFORE GOD 

My son, walk thou before Me in truth, and ever seek 
Me in simplicity of thy heart. ^ 

He that walketh before Me in truth, shall be 
defended from evil incursions, and the Truth shall set 
him free* from seducers, and from the slanders of 
unjust men. 

If the Truth shall have made thee free, thou shalt be 
free indeed, and shalt not care for the vain words of 
men. 

Lord, it is true. According as Thou sayest, so, I 
beseech Thee, let it be with me ; let Thy Truth teach 
me, guard me, and preserve me safe to the end. 

Let it set me free from all evil affection and inordi- 
nate love ; and I shall walk with Thee in great liberty 
of heart. 

II.' I WILL teach thee (saith the Truth) those things 
which are right and pleasing in My sight. 

Reflect on thy sins with great displeasure and grief; 
and never esteem thyself to be any thing, because of 
any good works. 

In truth thou art a sinner ; thou art subject to and 
encumbered with many passions. Of thyself thou 

1 Psalm Ixix. [17]. 2 Psalm cxliii. [101. 
Gen. xvii. [1] ; Wisd. i. [1]. John viii. [32]. 

o 



/ 



82 OF THE IMITATION OF CHRIST 

always tendest to nothing ; speedily art thou cast 
down, speedily overcome, speedily disordered, speedily 
dissolved. 

Thou hast nothing whereof thou canst glory,* but 
many things for which thou oughtest to account thy- 
self vile ; for thou art much weaker than thou art able 
to comprehend. 

III. And therefore let nothing seem much uuto 
thee, whatsoever thou doest. 

Let nothing seem great, nothing precious and 
wonderful, nothing worthy of estimation, nothing 
high, nothing truly commendable and to be desired, 
but that alone which is eternal. 

Let the eternal Truth be above all things pleasing to 
thee. Let thy own extreme unworthiness be always 
displeasing to thee. 

Fear nothing, blame nothing, flee nothing, so much 
as thy vices and sins ; which ought to be more un- 
pleasing to thee than any losses whatsoever of things 
earthly. 

Some walk not sincerely in My sight,^ but led by 
a certain curiosity and pride wish to know My secrets, 
and to understand the high things of God, neglecting 
themselves and their own salvation. 

These oftentimes, when I resist them, for their 
pride and curiosity do fall into great temptations and 
sins. 

IV. Fear thou the judgments of God, and dread the 
wrath of the Almighty. Do not however discuss the 
works of the Most High, but search diligently thine 
own iniquities, in how great things thou hast offecded, 
and how many good things thou hast neglected. 

Some carry their devotion only in books, some in 
pictures, some in outward signs and figures. 

Some have Me in their mouths, but little in their 
hearts.^ 

Others there are who, being illuminated in their 

t Cor. iv. [71. 

2 Ecclus. iii. [2123] ; 2 Cor. ii. [171. 

* Isaiah xxix. [131. 



OF THE EFFECT OF DIVINE LOVE 83 

understandings, and purged in their affection, do 
always breathe after things eternal, are unwilling to 
hear of the things of this world, and do serve the 
necessities of nature M'ith grief ; and these perceive 
what the Spirit of Truth speaketh in them.^ 

For He teacheth them to despise earthly, and to lo\e 
heavenly things, to neglect the world, and to desire 
Heaven all the day and night. ^ 



CHAFrER V 

OF THE WONDERFUL EFFECT OF DIVINE LOVE. 

I BLESS Thee, O Heavenly Father, Father of my 
Lord Jesus Christ, for that Thou hast vouchsafed to 
remember me a poor creature. 

Father of mercies and God of all comfort,^ thanks 
be unto Thee, who sometimes with Thy comfort re- 
freshest me, unworthy as I am of all comfort. 

1 will alway bless and glorify Thee, with ITiy only- 
begotten Son, and the Holy Ghost, the Comforter, for 
ever and ever. 

Ah, Lord God, Thou Holy Lover of my soul, when 
Thou comest into my heart, all that is within me shall 
rejoice. 

Thou art my Glory and the exultation of my heart : 
Thou art my Hope and Refuge in the day of my 
trouble.* 

II. But because I am as j'et weak in love, and im- 
perfect in virtue, I have need to be strengtliened and 
comforted by Thee ; visit me therefore often, and in- 
struct me with all holy discipline. 

Set me free from evil passions, and heal my heart of 
all inordinate affections ; that being inwardly cured 
and thoroughly cleansed, I may be made fit to love, 
courageous to suffer, steady to persevere. 

> Psalm XXV. [5]. 2 Psalm i. [2]. 

2 Cor. i. [3]. Psalm xsxii. [7J; lix. [16]. 



84 OF THE IMITATION OF CHRIST 

III. Love is a great thing, yea, a great and thorough 
good ; by itself it makes every thing that is heavy, 
light ; and it bears evenly all that is uneven. 

For it carries a burden which is no burden,* and 
makes every thing that is bitter, sweet and tasteful. 

'ITie noble love of Jesus impels a man to do great 
things, and stirs him up to be always longing for what 
is more perfect. 

Love desires to be aloft, and will not be kept back by 
any thing low and mean. 

Lov;^ desires to be free, and estranged from all 
worldly affections, that so its inward sight may not be 
hindered ; that it may not be entangled by any tem- 
poral prosperity, or by any adversity subdued. 

Nothing is sweeter than Love, nothing more courage- 
ous, nothing higher, nothing wider, nothing more 
pleasant, nothing fuller nor better in Heaven and 
earth ; because Love is born of God, and cannot rest 
but in God, above all created things. 

IV. He that loveth, flyeth, runneth, and rejoiceth ; 
he is free, and cainiot be held in. 

He giveth all for all, and hath all in all ; because he 
resteth in One Flighest above all things, from whom all 
that is good flows and proceeds. 

He respecteth not the gifts, but turneth himself 
above all goods unto the Giver. 

Love oftentimes knoweth no measure, but is fervent 
beyond all measure. 

Love feels no burden, thinks nothing of trouble, 
attempts what is above its strength, pleads no excuse of 
impossibility ; for it thinks all things lawful for itself 
and all things possible. 

It is therefore able to undertake all things, and it 
completes many things, and warrants them to take 
effect, where he who does not love, would faint and lie 
down. 

V. Love is watchful, and sleeping slumbereth not.^ 
Though weary, it is not tired ; though pressed, it is 

not straitened ; though alarmed, it is not confounded : 
Matt, xi. [.30]. Rom, viiL [19]. 



OF THE EFFECT OF DIVINE LOVE 86 

but as a lively flame and burning torch, it forces its 
way upwards, and securely passes through all. 

if any man love, he knoweth what is the cry of this 
voice. For it is a loud cry in the ears of God, the mere 
ardent affection of the soul, when it saith, ' My God, 
my Love, Thou art all mine, and I am all Thine.' 

VI. Enlarge Thou me in love, that with the inward 
palate of my heart I may taste how sweet it is to love, 
and to be dissolved, and as it were to bathe myself in 
Thy Love. 

Let me be possessed by Love, mounting above myself, 
through excessive fervour and admiration. 

Let me sing the song of love, let me follow Thee, my 
Beloved, on high ; let my soul spend itself in Thy 
praise, rejoicing through love. 

Let me love Thee more than myself, nor love myself 
but for Thee : and in Thee all that truly love Thee, as 
the law of Love commandeth, shining out from Thyself. 

VII. Love is active, sincere, affectionate, pleasant 
and amiable ; courageous, patient, faithful, prudent, 
long-suffering, manly, and never seeking itself.* 

For in whatever instance a person seeketh himself, 
there he falleth from Love.^ 

Love is circumspect, humble, and upright : not 
yielding to softness, or to levity, nor attending to vain 
things ; it is sober, chaste, steady, quiet, and guarded 
in all the senses. 

Love is subject, and obedient to its superiors, to itself 
mean and despised, unto God devout and thankful, 
trusting and hoping always in Him, even then when 
God imparteth no relish of sweetness unto it : for 
without sorrow none liveth in love. 

VIII. He that is not prepared to suffer all things, 
and to stand to the will of his Beloved, is not worthy 
to be called a lover [of God].^ 

A lover out;ht to embrace willingly all that is hard 
and distasteful, for the sake of his Beloved ; and not 
to turn away from Him for any contrary accidents. 

1 Cor. xiii. [5]. 2 1 Cor. x. [33] ; Phil. ii. [21]. 

Eom. viii. [35]. 



86 OF THE IMITATION OF CHRIST 
CHAPTER VI 

OF THE PROOF OF A TRUE LOVER [OF CHRISt] 

My son, thou art not yet a courageous and considerate 
lover. 

^Vherefore sayest Tliou this, O Lord ? 

Because for a slight opposition thou givest over 
thy undertakings, and too eagerly seekest consolation. 

A courageous lover standeth firm in temptations, 
and giveth no credit to the crafty persuasions of the 
Enemy. As I please him in prosperity, so in adversity 
I am not unpleasant to him.^ 

II. A considerate lover regardeth not so much the 
gift of Him who loves him, as the love of the Giver. 

He esteems the good will rather than the value [of 
the gift], and sets all gifts below Him whom he loves. 

A noble-minded lover resteth not in the gift, but in 
Me above every gift. 

All therefore is not lost, if sometimes thou hast less 
feeling for Me or My saints than thou wouldest. 

That good and sweet affection which thou sometimes 
feelest, is the effect of grace present, and a sort of 
foretaste of thy Heavenly home : but hereon thou 
must not lean too much, for it comes and goes. 

But to strive against evil motions of the mind which 
may befall thee, and to reject ^ with scorn the sugges- 
tions of the devil, is a notable sign of virtue, and shall 
iiave great reward. 

JUL Let no strange fancies therefore trouble thee, 
which on any subject whatever may crowd into thy 
mind. Keep to thy purpose, with courage, and an 
upright intention towards God. 
Neither is it an illusion that sometimes thou art 
suddenly rapt on high, and presently returnest again 
unto the accustomed vanities of thy lieart. 

For these thou dost rather unwillingly suffer, than 

> Phil. iv. [1113]. Matt. iv. [lOJ. 



I 



OF THE PROOF OF TRUE LOVE FOR GOD 87 

commit : and so long as they displease thee, and thou 
strivest against them, it is matter of reward, and no 
loss. 

IV. Know that the ancient Enemy doth strive by all 
means to hinder thy desire to good, and to keep thee 
clear of all religious exercises ; particularly from the 
reverend estimation of God's saints, from the devout 
commemoration of My Passion, from the profitable re- 
membrance of sins, from the guard of thine own heart, 
and from the firm purpose of advancing in virtue. 

Many evil thoughts does he suggest to thee, that so 
he may cause a wearisomeness and horror in thee, to 
call thee back from prayer and holy reading. 

Humble confession is displeasing unto him ; and 
if he could, he would cause thee to cease from Holy 
Communion. 

Trust him not, nor care for him, although he should 
often set snares of deceit to entrap thee. 

Charge him witli it, when he suggesteth evil and 
unclean thoughts unto thee ; say unto him, 

'Away thou unclean Spirit ! ^ blush, thou miserable 
wretch ! most unclean art thou that bringest such 
things unto mine ears. 

'Begone from me, thou wicked Seducer I thou 
shalt have no part in me : but Jesus shall be with 
me as a strong Warrior, and thou shalt stand con- 
founded. 

' I had rather die, and undergo any torment, than 
consent unto thee. 

' Hold thy peace and be silent ; I will hear thee no 

more, though thou shouldest work me many troubles. 

" The Lord is my Light and my Salvation, whom shall 
I fear.? "2 

'If whole armies should stand together against me, 
my heart shall not fear. The Lord is my Helper and 
my Redeemer.' 

V. Fight like a good soldier : ^ and if thou some- 
times fall through frailty, take again greater strength 

Matt. iv. [10], xvi. [23]. 2 Psalm xxvii. [11. 

Paalm xxvii. [14] ; 1 Tim. vi. [12]. 



88 OF THE IMITATION OF CHRIST 

\ than before, trusting in My more abundant Grace : and 
take great heed of vain pleasing of thyself, and of pride. 

This brings many into error, and makes them some- 
times fall into blindness almost incurable. 

Let the fall of the proud, thus foolishly presuming 
of themselves, serve thee for a warning and keep thee 
ever humble. 



CHAPTER VII 

OF CONCEALINfi GRACE UNDER THE GUARD OF HUiMILITY 

My son, it is more profitable for thee and more safe, 
to conceal the grace of devotion ; not to lift thyself on 
high, nor to speak much thereof, or to dwell much 
thereon ; but rather to despise thyself, and to fear it, 
as given to one unworthy of it. 

This affection must not be too earnestly cleaved unto, 
for it may be quickly changed to the contrary. 

Think when thou art in Grace, how miserable and 
needy thou art wont to be without Grace. 

Nor is it in this only that thy progress in spiritual 
life consis'ts, when thou hast the grace of comfort ; 
but rather when with humility, self-denial, and patience, 
thou endurest the withdrawing thereof; provided thou 
do not then become listless in the exercise of prayer, 
nor suffer the rest of thy accustomed duties to be at all 
neglected. 

Rather do thou cheerfully perform what lieth in 
thee, according to the best of thy power and under- 
standing ; and do not wholly neglect thyself because 
of the dryness or anxiety of mind which thou feelest. 

II. For there are many who when things succeed 
not well with them, presently become impatient or 
slothful. 

For the way of man is not always in his power,* but 
it belongeth unto God to give, and to comfort, when 
Jer. X. [23] ; Eom. ix. [16], 



OF GRACE CONCEALED BY HUMILITY 89 

He will, and how much He will, and whom He will ; 
as it shall please Him, and no more. 

Some unadvised persons, in their over-earnest desire 
of the grace of a devoted life, have overthrown them- 
selves ; because they attempted more than they were 
able to perform, not weighing the measure of their 
own weakness, but rather following the desire of their 
heart, than the judgment of their reason. 

And because they presumed on greater matters than 
was pleasing to God, they therefore quickly lost His 
grace. 

They who had built themselves nests ' in Heaven 
were made helpless and vile outcasts ; to the end that 
being humbled and impoverished, they might learn not 
to fly with their own wings, but to trust under My 
feathers. 

They that are yet but novices and inexperienced in 
the way of the Lord, unless they govern themselves by 
the counsel of discreet persons, may easily be deceived 
and broken to pieces. 

III. And if they will rather follow their own notions 
than trust to others who are more experienced, their 
end will be dangerous, at least if they are unwilling to 
be drawn away from their own fond conceit. 

It is seldom the case that they who are self-wise 
endure humbly to be governed by others. 

Better it is to have a small portion of good sense 
with humility,^ and a slender understanding, than 
great treasures of science with vain self-complacency. 

Better it is for thee to have little than much of that 
which may make thee proud. 

He acts not very discreetly, who wholly gives him- 
self over to joy, forgetting his former helplessness, and 
that chastened fear of the Lord, which is afraid of 
losing the grace which hath been offered. 

Nor again is he very valiantly wise who in time of 
adversity or any heaviness, at once yields too much to 
despairing thoughts, and reflects, and thinks of Me 
less confidingly than he ought. 

Isaiah xiv. [13]. 2 Psalm xvi. [2], xvii, [10]. 



90 OF THE IMITATION OF CHRIST 

IV. He who in time of peace is willing to be over 
secure,' shall be often found in time of war too much 
dejected and full of fears. 

If thou hadst the wit always to continue humble and 
moderate within thyself, and also thoroughly to mode- 
rate and govern thy spirit, thou wouldest not so 
quickly fall into danger and offence. 

It is good counsel, that when fervour of spirit is 
kindled within thee, thou shouldest consider how it 
will be, when that light shall leave thee. 

And when this does happen, then remember that the 
light may return again, which as a warning to thyself 
and for Mine. own glory, I have withdrawn for a time.^ 

V. Such trials are oftentimes more profitable, than if 
thou shouldest always have things prosper according to 
thy will. 

For a man's worthiness is not to be estimated by the 
number of visions and comforts which he may have, or 
by his skill in the Scriptures, or by his being placed in 
a higher station [than others]. 

But [the proof is] if he be grounded in true humility, 
and full of divine charity ; if he be always purely and 
sincerely seeking God's honour ; if he think nothing of 
and unfeignedly despise himself,^ and even rejoice 
more to be despised and put low by others, than to be 
honoured by them. 



CHAPTER VIII 

OF A MEAN CONCEIT OF OURSELVES IN THE SIGHT 
OP GOD 

Shall I speak unto my Lord, since I am but dust and 
aslies ? * If I esteem myself to be any thing more, 
behold, Thou standest against me, and my iniquities 
bear true witness, and I cannot contradict it. 

> 1 Thess. V. [6]. ' Job vii. 

Psalm Ixxxiv. [10]. * Gen. xviii. [27]. 



OF LOW THOUGHTS OF OURSELVES 91 

But if I abase myself, and reduce myself to nothing, 
and shrink from all self-esteem, and grind myself to 
(what I am) dust, Thy grace will be favourable to me, 
and Thy light near unto my heart ; and all self- 
esteem, how little soever, shall be swallowed up in the 
valley of my nothingness, and perish for ever. 

There Thou shewest Thyself unto me, what I am, 
what I have been, and whither I am come ; for I am 
nothing, and I knew it not. 

If I be left to myself, behold ! I become nothing but 
mere weakness ; but if Thou for an instant look upon 
me, I am forthwith made strong, and am filled with 
new joy. 

And a great marvel it is, that I am so suddenly 
lifted up, and so graciously embraced by Thee, who of 
mine own weight am always sinking downward. 

n. Thy love is the cause hereof, freely preventing 
me, and relieving me in so many necessities, guarding 
me also from pressing dangers, and snatching me (as I 
may truly say), from evils out of number. 

For indeed by loving myself amiss, I lost myself ; ^ 
and by seeking Thee alone, and purely loving Thee, 
I have found both myself and Thee, and by that love 
have more deeply reduced myself to nothing. 

Because Thou, O sweetest Lord, dealest with me 
above all desert, and above all that I dare hope for or 
ask. 

111. Blessed be Thou, my God : for although I be 
unworthy of any benefits, yet Thy noble bounty and 
infinite goodness never ceaseth to do good even to the 
ungrateful,^ and to those who are turned away far 
from Tliee. 

Turn Thou us unto Thee, that we may be thankful, 
humble, and devout ; for Thou art our salvation, our 
courage, and our strength. 

John xii. [25]. Matt. v. [45]. 



92 OF THE IMITATION OF CHRIST 



CHAPTER IX 

THAT ALL THINGS ARE TO BE REFERRED UNTO 
GOD, AS THEIR LAST END 

My son, I ought to be thy supreme and ultimate end, 
if thou desire to be truly blessed. 

With this intention thy affections will be purified, 
which are too often inordinately inclined to selfishness 
and unto creatures. 

For if in any thing thou seekest thyself, immediately 
thou faintest and driest up. 

I would therefore thou shouldest refer all things 
principally unto Me, for I am He who have given all. 

Consider every thing as flowing from the Highest 
Good ; 1 and therefore unto Me as their Original all 
must be reduced. 

II. From Me, as from a living fountain, the small 
and the great, the poor and the rich, do draw the 
water of life ; ^ and they that willingly and freely serve 
Me, shall receive grace for grace. 

But he who desires to glory in things out of Me,' or 
to take pleasure in some private good, shall not be 
grounded in true joy, nor be enlarged in his heart, but 
shall many ways be encumbered and straitened. 

Thou oughtest therefore to ascribe nothing of good 
to thyself, nor do thou attribute goodness unto any 
man ; but give all unto God, without whom man hath 
nothing. 

I have bestowed all,* and My will is to have thee all 
again ; and with great strictness do I require a return 
of thanks. 

III. This is the truth whereby vain-glory is put to 
flight. 

And if Heavenly grace enter in and true charity, 
there will be no envy nor narrowness of heart, neither 
will self-love busy itself. 

Ecclus. i. [51. ' John iv. [14]. 

1 Cor. i. [29]. 1 Cor. iv. [7J. 



OF THE SU^EETNESS OF GOD'S SERVICE 93 

For Divine charity overcometh all things, and en- 
largeth all the powers of the soul. 

If thou rightly judge, thou wilt rejoice in Me alone, 
in Me alone thou wilt hope ; for none is good save 
God alone,^ who is to be praised above all things, and 
in all to be blessed. 



CHAPTER X 

THAT TO DESPISE THE WORLD AND SERVE GOD IS 
A SWEET LIFE 

Now I will speak again, O Lord, and will not be silent ; 
I will say in the ears of my God, my Lord, and my 
King, who is on high : ' O how great is the abundance 
of Thy goodness, O Lord, which Thou hast laid up for 
them that fear Thee. ' ^ 

But what art Thou to those who love Thee f what to 
those who serve ITiee with their whole heart .'' 

Truly unspeakable is the sweetness of contemplating 
Thee, which Thou bestowest on them that love Thee. 

In this especially Thou hast shewed me the sweetness 
of Thy charity ; that when I was not. Thou madest me, 
when I went far astray from Thee, Thou broughtest me 
back again, that I might serve Thee, and hast com- 
manded me to love Tliee.^ 

II. O Fountain of love unceasing, what shall I say 
concerning Thee ? 

How can I forget Thee, who hast vouchsafed to 
remember me, even after I had wasted away and 
perished .' 

Thou hast shewed mercy to Thy servant beyond all 
expectation ; and hast exhibited favour and loving- 
kindness beyond all desert. 

Matt. xix. [17] ; Luke xviii. [19], 

2 Psalm xxxi. [19]. 

' Gen. i. [27] ; Psalm cxix. [73] ; Matt, xv, [perhaps z. 

O-T-l 



94 OF THE IMITATION OF CHRIST 

What return shall I make to Thee for this grace ? ^ 

For it is not granted to all to forsake all, to renounce 
the world, and to undertake a life of religious retired- 
ness. 

Is it any great thing that I should serve Thee,^ whom 
the whole creation is bound to serve ? 

It ought not to seem much to me, to serve Thee ; but 
rather this doth appear much to me, and wonderful, 
that Thou vouchsafest to receive into Thy service, one 
so poor and unworthy, and to make him one with Tliy 
beloved servants. 

III. Behold ! all things are Thine which I have, and 
whereby I serve Thee.^ 

And yet contrariwise. Thou rather servest me than I 
Thee. 

Behold ! heaven and earth, which Thou hast created 
for the service of man, are ready at hand, and do daily 
perform whatever Thou hast commanded. 

And this is little ; Thou hast moreover also appointed 
Angels to minister to man.* 

But that which excelleth all this is, that Thou Thy- 
self hast vouchsafed to serve man, and hast promised 
that Thou wouldest give Thyself unto him. 

IV. What shall I give Thee for all these thousands 
of benefits ? I would I could serve Thee all the days of 
my life. 

I would I were able, at least for one day, to do Thee 
some worthy service. 

Truly Thou art worthy of all service, of all honour 
and everlasting praise. 

Truly Thou art my Lord, and I Thy poor servant, 
who am bound to serve Thee with all my might, neither 
ought I ever to be weary of praising Thee. 

And this I wish to do, this I desire ; and whatsoever 
is wanting unto me, do Thou, I beseech Thee, vouchsafe 
to supply. 

V. It is a great honour, and a great glory, to serve 
Tliee, and despise all things for Thee. 

1 Psalm cx^^. [12], ' Judges xvi. [15]. 

> 1 Cor. iv. [7]. * Psalm xci. [11]; Heb. i. [14]. 



OF MODERATING OUR DESIRES 96 

For great grace shall be given to those who shall have 
willingly subjected themselves to Thy most holy service. 

They who for Thy love shall have renounced all 
carnal delights, shall find the sweetest consolations of 
the Holy Ghost. ^ 

They shall attain great freedom of mind, who for Thy 
Name's sake enter into the narrow way,- and have left 
off all worldly care. 

VT. O sweet and delightful service of God,^ by which 
a man is made truly free and holy ! 

O sacred state of religious servitude, which makes a 
man equal to the Angels, pleasing to God, terrible to 
devils, and worthy to be commended of all the faithful. 

O welcome service and ever to be desired, in which 
we are rewarded with the Greatest Good and attain to 
joy which shall endlessly remain with us ! 



CHAPTER XI 

THAT THE LONGINGS AND DESIRES OF OUH HEARTS ARE 
TO BE EXAMINED AND MODERATED. 

My son, it is needful for thee still to learn many things 
more, which thou hast not even yet well learned. 

What are these, O Lord ? 

That thou frame thy desires * wholly according to My 
good pleasure ; and tliat thou be not a lover of thyself, 
Ijut an earnest follower of My will. 

Various longings and desires oftentimes inflame thee, 
and drive thee forwards with vehemence ; but do thou 
consider whether thou be not moved rather for thine 
own advantage, than for My honour. 

If I Myself be the cause, thou wilt be well content 
with whatsoever I shall ordain ; but if there lurk in 

Matt. six. .[29]. 2 Matt. vii. [141. 

Matt. xi. [30] ; 1 John v. [3]. 
Psalm cviii. [1] ; Matt. vi. [10]. 



96 OF THE IMITATION OF CHRIST 

thee any self-seeking/ behold, this it is that hindereth 
thee and weigheth thee down. 

II. Beware therefore thou lean not too much upon 
any preconceived desire, without asking My counsel, 
lest perhaps afterwards it repent thee, or thou be dis- 
pleased with that which at first pleased thee, and which 
thou wast earnestly zealous for, as being the best. 

For not every affection which seems good is im- 
mediately to be followed ; nor again is every contrary 
affection at the first to be avoided. 

It is sometimes expedient to use a restraint even in 
good desires and endeavours, lest through importunity 
thou incur distraction of mind ; lest by thy want of 
self-government thou beget a scandal unto others ; 
or again being by others thwarted and resisted thou 
become suddenly confounded, and so fall. 

III. Sometimes however tliou must use violence,^ and 
resist manfully thy sensual appetite, notregarding what 
the flesh would, or would not ; ^ but rather taking pains 
that even perforce it may be made subject to the 
Spirit.* 

And so long ought it to be chastised and to be forced 
to remain under servitude, until it be prepared for every 
thing, and learn to be content with a little, and to be 
pleased with plain and simple things, nor to murmur 
against any inconvenience. 



CHAPTER XII 

OF THE GROWTH OF PATIENCE IN THE SOUL, AND OF 
STRIVING AGAINST CONCUPISCENCE 

Lord my God, patience is very necessary for me,"* as 

1 see that many things in this life do happen as we 
would not. 

1 Phil. ii. [21]. ^ Phil. ii. [121. 

' Rom. viii. [113] ; 2 Cor. iv. [10], x. [3]. 
1 Cor. ix. [27]. * Heb. x. [36]. 



OF STRIVING AGAINST CONCUPISCENCE 97 

For whatever plans I shall devise for my owu peace^ 
my life canuot be without war aud afflictiou.^ 

It is so, My son. But My will is, that thou seek not 
that peace which is void of temptation, or which feeleth 
nothing contrary ; but rather think that thou hast then 
found peace, when thou art exercised with sundry 
tribulations,- aud tried in many adversities. 

II. If thou say, that thou art not able to suffer 
much, how then wilt thou endure the fire hereafter.'' 

Of two evils the less is always to be chosen. 

Tliat thou may est therefore avoid the future ever- 
lasting punishment, endeavour to endure present evils 
patiently for God's sake. 

Dost thou think tliat the men of this world suffer 
nothing or but a little .'' Ask even of those who enjoy 
the greatest delicacies, and thou shalt find it otherwise. 

But thou wilt say, they have many delights, and 
follow their own wills, and therefore they do not much 
weigh their own afflictions. 

Be it so, that they do have whatsoever they will ; but 
how long dost thou think it will last.'' 

III. Behold, the wealthy of this world shall consume 
away like smoke,^ and there shall be no memory of their 
past joys ! 

Yea, even while they are yet alive, they do not rest 
in them without bitterness, weariness, and fear. 

For from the self-same thing in which they imagine 
their delight to be, oftentimes they receive the penalty 
of sorrow. 

Nor is it any thing but just, that having inordinately 
sought and followed after pleasures, they should enjoy 
them not without shame and bitterness. 

IV. O how brief, how false, how inordinate and 
filthy, are all those pleasures. 

Yet so drunken and blind are men that they under- 
stand it not ; but like dumb beasts, for the poor enjoy- 
ment of this corruptible life, they incur the death of 
the soul. 

'- Job vii. [1], James i. [2]. ' Psalm Ixviii. [21. 



98 OF THE Ii>IITATION OF CHRIST 

Thou tlierefore^ My son, ' go not after thy lusts, but 
refrain thyself from thine appetites.' * 'Delight thy- 
self in the Lord, and He shall give thee the desires of 
thine heart.' ^ 

V. For if thou desire true delight, and to be more 
plentifully comforted by Me ; behold, in the contempt 
of all worldly things, and in the cutting off all base 
delights, shall be thy blessing, and abundant consola- 
tion shall be rendered to thee. 

And the more thou withdrawest thyself from all 
solace of creatures, so much the sweeter and more 
powerful consolations shalt thou find in Me. 

But at the first, thou shalt not without some sadness, 
nor without a laborious conflict, attain unto these con- 
solations. 

Old inbred habits will make resistance, but by better 
habits they shall be entirely overcome. 

The flesh will murmur against thee ; but with fer- 
vency of spirit thou shalt bridle it. 

The Old Serpent will instigate and trouble thee, but 
by prayer he shall be put to flight ; moreover also, by 
any useful employment thou shalt greatly stop the way 
against him. 



CHAPTER Xin 

OF THE OBEWENCE OF ONE IN HUMBLE StJBJECTlON, 
AFTER THE EXAMPLE OF JESUS CHRIST 

My son, he that endeavoureth to withdraw himself 
from obedience, withdraweth himself from Grace : and 
he who' seeketh for himself private benefits ^ loseth 
those which are common. 

He that doth not cheerfully and freely submit him- 
self to his superior, it is a sign that his flesh is not as 

> Ecclu3. xviii. [.SO]. 2 Psalm xxxvii. [4]. 

Matt. xvi. [24]. 



OF HUMBLE OBEDIENCK 99 

yet perfectly obedient unto him, but oftentimes kicketh 
and nmrmureth against him. 

Learn thou therefore quickly to submit thyself to 
thy superior, if thou desire to keep thine own flesh 
under the yoke. 

For more speedily is the outward enemy overcome, if 
the inward man be not laid waste. 

There is no worse enemy, nor one more troublesome 
to the soul, than thou art unto thyself, if tliou be not 
well in harmony with the Spirit. 

It is altogether necessary that thou take up a true 
contempt for thyself, if thou desire to prevail against 
flesh and blood. 

II. Because as yet thou lovest thyself too inordi- 
nately, therefore thou art afraid to resign thyself 
wholly to the will of others. 

And yet, what great matter is it, if thou, who art but 
dust and nothing, subject thyself to a man for God's 
sake, when I, the Almighty and the Most Highest, who 
created all things of nothing, humbly subjected Myself 
to man for thy sake .^ 

I became of all men the most humble and the most 
abject,^ that thou mightest overcome thy pride with 
My humility. 

O dust, learn to be obedient. Learn to humble thy- 
self, thou earth and clay, and to bow thyself down 
under the feet of all men. 

Learn to break thine own wishes, and to yield thyself 
to all subjection. 

III. Be fiercely hot against thyself, and suffer no 
pride to dwell in thee : but shew thyself so humble 
and so very small, that all may be able to walk over 
thee, and to tread thee down as the mire of the streets. 
V^ain man, what hast thou to complain of.'^ 

\Vliat canst thou answer, foul sinner, to them that 
upbraid thee, thou who hast so often offended God ; 
and so many times deserved hell } 

But Mine eye spared thee, because thy soul was 

1 Luke ii. [7] ; John xiii. [14]. 




( 



iOO OF THE IMITATION OF CHRIST 

precious in My sight ; that thou mightest know My 
love, and ever be thankful for My benefits ; 

Also that thou mightest continually give thyself to 
true subjection and humility, and endure patiently the 
contempt which belongs to thee. 



CHAPTER XIV 

OF THE DUTY OF CONSIDERING THE SECRET JUDGMENTS 
OF GOD, THAT SO WE BE NOT LIFTED UP FOB ANY 
THING GOOD IN US 

Thou, O Lord, thunderest forth Thy judgments over 
rae. Thou shakest all my bones with fear and trembling, 
and my soul is very sore afraid. 

I stand astonished ; and I consider 'That the 
Heavens are not pure in Thy sight.' ' 

If in Angels Thou didst find wickedness,'^ and didst 
not spare even them, what shall become of me ? 

Even stars fell from Heaven,^ what then can I pre- 
sume who am but dust ? 

Tliey whose works seemed commendable, have fallen 
into the lowest misery ; and those who did eat the 
bread of Angels,^ I have seen delighting themselves 
with the husks of swine. 

II. There is therefore no sanctity, if Thou^ O Lord, 
withdraw Thine hand. 

No wisdom availetli, if Thou cease to guide. 

No courage helpeth, if Thou leave oif to defend. 

No chastity is secure, if Thou do not protect it. 

No custody of our own availeth, if Thy sacred watch- 
fulness be not present with us. 

For, if we be left to ourselves, we sink and perish ; 
but being visited of Thee, we are raised up and live. 

Truly we are unstable, but thruugh Thee we are 

1 Job XV. [15], 2 Jobiv. [18]. 

Ee\'. viii. [10]. Fs. Ixxviii. [25]. 



OF ENTIRE RESIGNATION 101 

strengthened : we wax lukewarm^ but by Tbee we ai-e 
inflamed. 

III. O how humbly and meanly ought I to think of 
myself ! how ought 1 to esteem it as nothing, if 1 
should seem to have any good quality ! 

A^'ith what profound humility ought I to submit 
myself to Thy unfathomable judgments, O Lord ; where 
I find myself to be nothing else than Nothing, and 
[still] Nothing ! 

O unmeasurable weight ! O sea that can never be 
passed over, wliere I [can] discover nothing of myself 
save only and wholly Nothing I 

Where then is the lurking-place of glory ? where the 
confidence conceived of virtue ? 

All vain-glorying is swallowed up in the deep of Thy 
judgments over me. 
IV. A^'hat is all flesh in Thy sight ? 

Shall the clay glory against Him that formeth it ? 

How can he be lifted up with vain words whose 
heart is truly subject to God .'' ' 

Not all the world can lift up him, whom the Truth 
hath subjected unto itself: neither shall he, who hath 
firmly settled his whole hope in God, be moved with 
the tongues of any who praise him. 

For even they themselves who speak, behold they 
all are nothing, for they will pass away with the sound 
of their own words ; but the Truth of the Lord re- 
maineth for ever.^ 



CHAPTER XV 

IN EVERY THING WHICH WE DESIRE, HOW WE OUGHT TO 
STAND AFFECTED, AND WHAT WE OUGHT TO SAY. 

My son, say thou thus in every thing: 'Lord, if this 
' be pleasing unto Thee, so let it be.^ 

' Isaiah xxix. [16] ; Ecdns. xxiii. [4, 5]. 
* Psalm cxvii. [2]. ' James iii. [perhaps iv. 15]. 



102 OF THE IMITATION OF CHRIST 

' Lord, if it be to Thy honour, in Thy Name let this 

* be done. 

' Lord, if Thou seest it expedient, and allowest it to 

* be profitable for me, then grant unto me tliat I may 
' use this to Thine honour. 

' But if Thou knowest it will be hurtful unto me, 
' and no profit to the health of my soul, take anay any 
' such desire from me.' 

For every desire proceedeth not from the Holy Spirit, 
even though it seem unto a man right and good. 

It is difficult to judge truly Avhether a good Spirit or 
the contrary drive thee to desire this or that ; or 
whether by thine own spirit thou be moved thereunto. 

Many have been deceived in the end, who at the 
first seemed to be led on by a good Spirit. 

II. Therefore whatever occurs to the mind as desir- 
able, must always be desired and prayed for in tlie fear 
of God and with humility of heart ; and chiefly thou 
must commit the whole matter to Me with special 
resignation of thyself, and thou must say, 

' O Lord, Thou knowest what is best for us, let this 
' or that be done, as Thou shalt please. 

' Give what Thou wilt, and how much Thou wilt, and 

* when Thou wilt. 

'Deal witli me as Thou thinkest good, and as best 
' pleases Thee, and is most for Thy honour. 

' Set me where Thou wilt, and deal with me in ail 
'things just as ITiou wilt. 

'I am in Thy hand : turn me round, and turn me 
' back again, as Thou shalt please. 

' Behold, I am Thy servant, prepared for all things ; 
' for I desire not to live unto myself, but unto Thee ; 
' and O that I could do it worthily and perfectly ! ' 

A Pi-ayer thiit the will of God may be fulfilled. 

III. O MOST merciful Jesus, grant to me Thy Grace, 
that it may be with me, and labour with me,^ and 
persevere with me even to the end. 

Wisd. ix. [10]. 



OF TRUE COMFORT 103 

Grant that I may always desire and will that which 
is to Thee most acceptable, and most dear. 

Let Thy will be mine, and let my will ever follow 
Thine, and agree perfectly with it. 

Let my will and nill be all one with Thine, and let 
me not be able to will or nill any thing else, but what 
Thou wiliest or uillest. 

IV. Grant that I may die to all things that are in 
the world, and for Thy sake love to be contemned, and 
not known in this generation. 

Grant to me above all things that can be desired, to 
rest in Thee, and in Thee to have my heart at peace. 

Thou art the true peace of the heart. Thou its only 
rest ; out of ITiee all things are hard and restless. In 
this very peace, that is, in Thee, the one Chiefest 
Eternal Good, I will sleep and rest.^ Amen. 



CHAPTER XVI 

THAT TKUB COMFORT IS TO BE SOUGHT IN GOD ALONE 

Whatsoever I can desire or imagine for my comfort, I 
look for it not here but hereafter. 

For if I might alone have all the comforts of the 
world, and were able to enjoy all the delights thereof,- 
it is certain that they could not long endure. 

Wherefore, O my soul, thou canst not be fully 
comforted,^ nor have perfect refreshment, except in 
God, the Comforter of the poor, and Patron of the 
humble. 

^''ait a little while, Q my soul, wait for the Divine 
promise, and thou shalt have abundance of all good 
things in Heaven. 

If thou desire inordinately the things that are 
present, thou shalt lose those which are heavenly and 
eternal. 

> Psalm iv. [8]. ' Matt. xvi. [26]. 

5 Psalm Ixxvii. [1, 2]. 



104 OF THE IMITATION OF CHRIST 

Use temporal things, and desire eternal. 

Thou canst not be satisfied with any temporal goods, 
because thou art not created to enjoy them. 

II. Although thou shouldest possess all created good, 
yet couldest thou not be happy thereby nor blessed ; 
but in God, who created all things, consisteth thy 
whole blessedness and felicity ; ^ not such as is seen 
and commended by the foolisli lovers of the world, but 
such as the good and faithful servants of Christ wait 
for, and of which the spiritual and pure in heart, 
whose conversation is in Heaven,^ sometimes have a 
foretaste. 

Vain and brief is all human consolation. 

Blessed and true is the consolation which is received 
inwardly from the Truth. 

A devout man beareth every where about with him 
his own Comforter Jesus, and saith unto Him, ' Be 
' Thou present with me, O Lord Jesu, in every time and 
' place. 

' Let this be my consolation, to be cheerfully willing 
' to do without all human comfort. 

' And if Thy consolation be wanting, let Thy will and 
'just trial of me be unto me as the greatest comfort ; for 
'Thou wilt not always be angry, neither wilt Thou 
'threaten for ever.'^ 



f\ CHAPTER XVII 



THAT ALL OUR ANXIETIES ARE TO BE PLACED ON GOT> 

My son, suffer me to do with thee what I please, I 
know what is expedient for thee. 

Thou thinkest as man ; thou judgest in many things 
as human feelings persuade thee. 

Wisrt. ii. [23]. "^ Phil. iii. [20]. 

' P3. ciii. [9]. 



OF RESTING ALL OUR CARE ON GOD 105 

O Lord, what Thou sayest is true. Thy anxiety for 
me is greater' than all the care that I can take for 
myself. 

For he standeth but very totteringly, who casteth 
not all his anxiety upon Thee. 

O Lord, if only niy will may remain right and firm 
towards Thee, do with me whatsoever it shall please 
I'hee. ' 

For it cannot be any thing but good, whatsoever 
Thou shalt do with me. 

n. If it be Thy will I should be in darkness, be Thou 
blessed ; and if it be Thy will I should be in light, be 
thou again blessed. If Thou vouchsafe to comfort me, 
be Thou blessed ; and if Thou wilt have me afflicted, be 
Thou ever equally blessed. 

My son, such as this ought to be thy state, if thou 
desire to walk with Me. 

Thou oughtest to be as ready to suffer as to rejoice. 

Thou oughtest as cheerfully to be destitute and jioor, 
as full and rich. 

III. O LoRn, for Thy sake, I will cheerfully suffer 
whatever shall come on me with Tliy permission. 

From Thy hand I am willing to receive indifferently 
good and evil, sweet and bitter, joy and sorrow, and for 
all that befalleth me I will be thankful. 

Keep me safe from all sin, and T shall fear neither 
death ^ nor hell. 

So as Thou dost not cast me from Thee for ever, nor 
blot me out of the book of life, whatever tribulation 
may befall me shall not hurt me. 

Matt. vi. [30] ; John vi. [20]. * Job ii. [10], 

Ps. xxiii, [4]. 



106 OF THE IMITATION OF CHRIST 



CHAPTER XVIII 

THAT TEMPORAL MISERIES aiUST BE BORNE PATIENTIiY, 
AFTER THE EXAMPLE OP CHRIST 

My son, I descended from Heaven ' for thy salvation ; 
I took upon Me thy miseries,^ not necessity but charity 
drawing Me thereto ; that thou thyself mightest learn 
patience, and bear temporal miseries without grudging. 

For from the hour of My birth, ^ even until My death 
on the cross, I was not without suffering of grief. 

I suffered great want of things temporal ; I often 
heard many complaints against Me ; 1 endured with 
benignity disgraces and revilings ; in return for benefits 
I received ingratitude ; for miracles, blasphemies ; for 
heavenly doctrine, reproofs. 

II. O Lord, for that Thou wert patient in Tliy life- 
time, herein especially fulfilling the commandment^ of 
Thy Father ; * it is reason that I, a most miserable 
sinner, should bear myself patiently according to Thy 
will, and for my soul's welfare endure the burden of 
this corruptible life as long as Thou Thyself shall 
choose. 

For although this present life be burdensome to our 
feelings, yet notwithstanding it is now by Tliy grace 
made very gainful ; and by Thy example and the foot- 
steps of Thy Saints, more bright and endurable to the 
weak. 

It is, too, much more full of consolation than it wag 
formerly in the old Law, when the gate of Heaven 
remained shut ; and the way also to Heaven seemed 
more obscure, when so few took care to seek after the 
kingdom of Heaven.^ 

Moreover also they who then were just and such as 
should be saved, could not enter into the Heavenly 

John iii. [13], ' Isa. liii. [4]. 

* Lukeii. [7]. * John v. [30]. 

Matt. vii. [14], 



OF TRUE PATIENCE UNDER WRONGS 107 

kingdom, before Thy Passioiij and the due satisfaction 
of Thy holy death. 

III. O how great thanks am I bound to render unto 
Thee, that Tliou hast vouchsafed to shew unto me and 
to all faithful people the good and the right way to 
Thine eternal kingdom. 

For Thy life is our way, and by holy patience we 
walk toward Thee, who art our Crown. 

If Thou hadst not gone before us and taught us, 
who would have cared to follow .'' 

Alas, how many would remain behind and afar off, if 
they considered not ITiy most noble example ! 

Behold, we are even yet lukewarm, though we have 
heard of so many of Thy miracles and doctrines ; what 
would become of us, if we had not so great Light ^ 
whereby to follow Thee ! 



CHAPTER XIX 

OP THE ENDURANCE OF INJURIES, AND OF THE PROOF 
OF TRUE PATIENCE 

What is it thou sayest. My son .'' Cease to complain 
when thou considerest J\Iy Passion, and the sufferings of 
other holy persons. 

Thou hast not yet made resistance unto blood. ^ 

It is but little which thou sufferest, in comparison of 
those who suffered so much, who were so strongly 
tempted, so grievously afflicted, so many ways tried and 
exercised.^ 

Thou oughtest therefore to call to mind the more 
heavy sufferings of others, that so thou mayest the 
easier bear thy own very small troubles. 

And if they seem unto thee not very small, then 
beware lest thy impatience be the cause thereof. 

However, whether they be small or whether they be 
great, endeavour patiently to under^ them all. 

< John xii. [46]. 2 Heb. xii. [4]. 

' Heb. xi. [37]. 



108 OF THE IMITATION OF CHRIST 

II. The better thou disposest thyself to suifering, so 
much the more wisely thou doest, and so much the 
greater reward shalt thou receive ; thou shalt also more 
easily endure it^ if both in mind and by habit thou art 
diligently prepared thereunto. 

Do not say, ' I cannot endure to suffer these things 
at the hands of such an one, nor ought I to endure 
things of this sort ; for he hath done me great wrong, 
and reproacheth me with things which I never thought 
of ; but of another I will willingly suffer, that is, if they 
are also things which I shall see I ought to suffer.' 

Such a thought is foolish ; it considereth not the 
virtue of patience, nor by whom it will be to be crowned 
but rather, weigheth too exactly the persons, and the 
injuries offered to itself. 

III. He is not truly patient, who is willing to suffer 
only so much as he thinks good, and from whom he 
pleases. 

But the truly patient man minds not by whom he is 
exercised, whether by his superiors, by one of his equals, 
or by an inferior ; whether by a good and holy man, or 
by one that is perverse and unworthy. 

But indifferently from every creature, how much 
soever, or how often soever any thing adverse befals 
him, he takes it all thankfully as from the hands of God, 
and esteems it a great gain : 

For with God it is imj)os.sible that any thing, how 
small soever, if only it be suffered for God's sake, should 
pass without its reward. 

IV. Be thou therefore prepared for the fight, if thou 
wilt have the victory. 

I Without a combat thou canst not attain unto the 
I crown of patience. ' 

If thou art unwilling to suffer, thou refusest to be 
crowned. But if thou desire to be crowned, fight 
manfully, endure patiently. 

AVithout labour there is no arriving at rest, nor 
without fighting can the victory be reached. 

2 Tim. ii. [35]. 



OF HUMAxN INFIRMITY AND MISERY 109 

O Lord, let that become possible to me by Thy 
grace, which by nature seems impossible to me. 

Thou knowest that I am able to suifer but little, aud 
that I am quickly cast down, when a slight adversity 
ariseth. 

For Thy Name's sake, let every exercise of tribula- 
tion be made amiable and desirable to me ; for to suffer 
and to be disquieted for Thy sake, is very wholesome 
for my soul. 



CHAPTER XX 

OF THE ACKNOWLEDGING OF OUR OWN INFIRMITIES ; AND 
OF THE MISERIES OF THIS LIFE 

I WILL confess against myself mine own unrighteous- 
ness ; ' I will confess my weakness unto Thee, O 
Lord. 

Oftentimes a small matter it is that makes me sad and 
dejected. 

I resolve that I will act with courage, but when 
even a small temptation conies, 1 am at once in a great 
strait. 

It is sometimes a very trifle, whence a great tempta- 
tion arises. 

And whilst I am thinking myself tolerably safe, and 
when I least expect it, I sometimes find myself almost 
entirely overcome by a slight breath. 

II. Behold therefore, O Lord, my low state,2and my 
frailty every way known unto Thee. 

Have mercy on me, and deliver me out of the mire, 
ihat I may not stick fast therein,^ may not remain 
utterly cast down for ever. 

This is that which oftentimes strikes me backwards, 
and confounds me in Thy sight, that I am so subject to 
fall, aud weak in resisting my passions. 

> Psalm xxxii. [5T. * Psalm xxv. [18], 

Psalm Ixix. [14]. 



no OF THE IMITATION OF CHRIST 

And although I do not altogether consent, yet their 
continued assaults are troublesome and grievous unto 
me ; and it is very exceedingly irksome to live thus 
daily in conflict. 

P'rom hence my weakness becomes known unto me, 
in that hateful fancies do always much more easily 
invade than forsake me. 

III. Most mighty God of Israel, Thou zealous Lover 
of faithful souls I O that Thou wouldst consider the 
labour and sorrow of Thy servant, and assist him in all 
things whatsoever he undertaketh. 

Strengthen me with heavenly courage, lest the old 
man, the miserable flesh, not as yet fully suhject to the 
Spirit, prevail and get the upper hand ; against which, 
it will be needful for me to fight, as long as I breathe 
in this miserable life. 

Alas, what a kind of life is this, where tribulation and 
miseries are never wanting ; where all is full of snares, 
and enemies ! 

For when one tribulation or temptation retreateth, 
another Cometh on ; yea and while the first conflict is yet 
lasting, many others come unexpected one after anotlier. 

IV. And how can a life be loved that hath so many 
embitterments, and is subject to so many calamities and 
miseries } 

How too can it be called a life, that begetteth so 
many deaths and plagues .'' 

And yet it is the object of men's love, and many 
seek to delight themselves therein. 

The world is oftentimes blamed for being deceitful 
and vain, and yet men do not easily part with it, because 
the desires of the flesh bear so great a sway. 

But some things draw us to love the world, others 
to contemn it. 

The lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride 
of life,^ do draw us to the love of the world ; but the 
pains and miseries that do justly follow them cause a 
hatred of the world and a loathsomeness thereof. 

1 John u. [16]. 



OF ENTIRE REST IX GOD Hi 

\. But alaSj the fondness for vicious pleasures over- 
conieth the mind of him who is addicted to the world ; 
and he esteemetli it a delight to be under thorns/ 
because he hath neither seen nor tasted the sweetness 
of God^ and the inward pleasantness of virtue. 

But they who perfectly contemn the world, and 
study to live to God under holy discipline, these are 
not ignorant of the Divine sweetness promised to those 
who truly forsake the world ; they also very clearly 
see how jajievously the world erreth, and how it is 
in many ways deceived. 



CHAPTER XXI 

THAT WE ARE TO REST IN GOD ABOVE ALL THINGS WHICH 
ARE GOODj AND ABOVE ALL HIS OWN GIFTS 

Above all things, and in all things, O my soul, thou 
shalt rest in the Lord alway, for He Himself is the 
everlasting Rest of the Saints. 

Grant me, O most sweet and loving Jesus, to rest in 
Thee above all creatures,^ above all health and beauty, 
above all glory and honour, above all power and dignity, 
* above all knowledge and subtilty, above all riches and 
arts, above all joy and gladness, above all fame and 
praise, above all sweetness and comfort, above all hope 
and promise, above all desert and desire : 

Above all gifts and favours that Thou canst give and 
impart unto us, above all mirth and jubilee that the 
mind of man can receive and feel : 

Finally above Angels and Archangels, and above 
all the Heavenly host, above all things visible and 
invisible, and above all that Thou art not, O my God, 

II. Because Thou, O Lord my God, art supremely 
good above all ; Thou alone art most high, Thou alone 
most powerful. Thou alone most full and sufficient, 
Thou alone most sweet and most full of consolation : 
Job XXX. [7]. Rom. viii. [1922]. 



112 OF THE IMITATION OF CHRIST 

Thou alone art most lovely and loving, Thou alone 
most noble and glorious above all tilings, in whom all 
good things together both perfectly are, and ever have 
been, and shall be. 

And therefore it is too small, and unsatisfying, what- 
soever Thou bestowest on me besides Thyself, or 
revealest unto me of Thyself, or promisest, whilst Thou 
art not seen, and not fully obtained. 

For surely my heart cannot truly rest, nor be entirely 
contented, unless it rest in Thee, and surmount all 
gifts and all creatures whatsoever. 

III. O Thou most beloved spouse of my soul, Jesu 
Christ, Thou most pure Lover, Thou Lord of all 
creation : O that I had the wings of true liberty, that 
I might flee away and rest in Thee ! ^ 

O when shall it be fully granted me, to consider in 
quietness of mind and see how sweet Thou art, my 
Lord God .? 

^Vhen shall I fully gather up myself into Thee, that 
by reason of my love to Thee I may not feel myself, 
but Thee alone, above all sense and measure, in a 
manner not known unto every one ! ^ 

But now I oftentimes sigh, and bear my infelicity 
with grief. 

Because many evils occur in this vale of miseries, 
which do often trouble, grieve, and overcloud me ; 
often hinder and distract me, allure and entangle me, 
so that I can have no free access unto Thee, nor enjoy 
the sweet welcomings which are ever ready with the 
blessed spirits. 

O let my sighs move Thee, and my manifold desola- 
tion here on earth. 

IV'. O Jesu, Thou brightness of eternal glory. Thou 
comfort of the pilgrim soul, with Thee is my tongue 
without voice, and my very silence speaketh unto Thee. 

How long doth my Lord delay to come ? 

Let Him come unto me His poor despised servant, 
and let Him make me glad. Let llkn put forth His 
hand, and deliver a poor wretch from all anguish. 
> T's.i^m Iv. [6], 2 Dan. x. [11]. 



OF ENTIRE REST IN GOD 113 

Come, O come ; for without Tliee I sliall liave no 
joyful day nor hour ; for Thou art my joy, aud without 
Thee my table is empty. 

A wretched creature am I, and in a manner im- 
prisoned and loaded with fetters, until Thou refresh 
me with the light of Thy presence, and grant me 
liberty, and shew a friendly countenance toward me. 

V. Let others seek what they please instead of ITiee ; 
but for me, nothing else doth nor shall delight me, 
but Thou only, my God, my hope, my everlasting 
salvation. 

I will not hold my peace, nor cease to pray, until 
Tl)y grace return again, and Thou speak inwardly unto 
me. 

Behold, here I am. Behold, I come unto thee, 
because thou hast called upon Me. Thy tears and the 
desire of thy soul, thy humiliation and thy contrition 
of heart, have inclined and brought Me unto thee. 

And I said, Lord, I have called upon TTiee, and have 
desired to enjoy Thee, being ready to refuse all things 
for Thy sake. 

For Thou first hast stirred me up that I might seek 
Thee. 

Blessed be Thou therefore, O Lord, that hast shewed 
this goodness to Thy servant, according to the multi- 
tude of ITiy mercies. 

VI. What hath Thy servant more to say before Tliee ,'* 
he can only greatly humble himself in Thy sight, ever 
mindful of his own iniquity and vileness. 

For there is none like unto Thee ' in all the wonder- 
ful things of Heaven and earth. 

Thy works are very good. Thy judgments true, and 
by Thy providence the universe is governed. 

Praise therefore aud glory be unto Thee, O Wisdom 
of the Fatlier : let my mouth, my soul, and all creatures 
^ogother, praise and bless thee. 

' Psalm Ixxxvi. [8], 



vOi 



114 OF THE IMITATION OF CHRIST 
CHAPTER XXII 

OF THE REMEMBRANCE OF GOd's MANIFOLD BENEFITS 

OpeNj O Lord, my heart in Thy law, aud teach me 
to walk in Thy commandments.^ 

Grant me to understand Thy will, and with great 
reverence and diligent consideration to remember Thy 
benefits, as well in general as in particular, that 
henceforward I may be able worthily to give Thee 
thanks. 

But I know, and confess, that I am not able, even in 
the least point, to give Thee due thanks for the favours 
which Thou bestowest upon me. 

I am less than tlie least of all Thy benefits : and 
when I consider Thine excellency, the greatness thereof 
maketh my spirit to faint. 

II. All that we have in soul and in body, and what- 
soever we possess outwardly or inwardly, naturally or 
supernaturally, are Thy benefits, and do proclaim Thee 
bountiful, merciful, and good, from whom we have 
received all good things. 

Although one have received more, another less, all 
notwithstanding are Thine, and without Thee even the 
least blessing cannot be had. 

He that hath received the greatest cannot glory of his 
own desert, nor extol himself above others, nor insult 
bver the lesser ; for he is the greatest and the best, 
who ascribeth least unto himself, and who in render- 
ing thanks is the most humble and the most devout. 

And he that esteeraeth himself viler than all men, 
and judgeth himself most unworthy, is fittest to receive 
the greater blessings. 

III. But he that hath received fewer, ought not to be 
out of heart, nor to take it grievously, nor envy them* 
that are enriched with greater store ; but rather he 
should turn his mind to Thee, and exceedingly pr^iise 
Thy goodness, for that Thou bestowest Thy gifts so 

* Psalm cxix. 



THE REMEMBRANCE OF GOD'S BENEFITS 115 

bountifully, so freely, and so willingly, without respect 
of persons. 

All things proceed from Thee, and therefore in all 
Thou art to be praised. 

Thou knowest what is fit to be given to every one ; 
and why this man should have less and that more, it is 
not for us to judge, but for Thee who dost exactly mark 
every one's deserts. 

IV. Wherefore, O Lord God, I even esteem it a great 
mercy, not to have much of that which outwardly and 
in the opinion of men seems worthy of glory and ap- 
plause. For so it is, that he who considers the poverty 
and unworthiness of his own person, should be so far 
from conceiving grief or sadness, or from being cast 
down thereat, that he rather should take great comfort, 
and be glad ; because Thou, O God, hast cliosen the 
poor and humble and the despised of this world for 
Thyself,^ for Thy familiar and domestic attendants. 

AFitnesses are Thy Apostles themselves, whom Thou 
hast made princes over all the eartli.^ 

And yet they lived in the world without complaint,^ 
so humble and simple, without all malice and deceit, 
that they even rejoiced to suffer reproach for Thy 
Name ; * and what the world abhorreth, they embraced 
with great affection. 

V. When therefore a man loveth Thee and acknow- 
ledgeth Thy benefits, nothing ought 50 to rejoice him as 
Thy will toward him, and the good pleasure of Thine 
eternal appointment. 

And herewith he ought to be so contented and com- 
forted, that he would as willingly be the least, as 
another would wish to be the greatest. 

He would too be as peaceable and contented in the 
last place as in the first ; as willing to be a despised 
cast-away, of no name or character, as to be preferred 
in honour before others, and to be greater in the world 
than they. 

For Thy will and the love of Thy glory ought to be 

> 1 Cor. i. [27, 28]. * Ps. xlv. [16]. 

1 Thess. ii. [10]. * Acts v. [41]. 



116 OF THE IMITATION OF CHRIST 

preferred before all things, and to comfort nim more, 
and please him better, than all the benefits which he 
either hath received, or may receive. 



CHAPTER XXIII 

OF FOUR THINGS THAT BRING MUCH INWARD PEACE 

My son, now will I teach thee the way of peace and 
true liberty. 

O Lord, I beseech Thee, do as Thou sayest, for this 
is delightful to me to hear. 

Bk desirous. My son, to do the will of another 
rather than thine own.' 



Choose always to have less rather than aiore.^ 
Seek always the lowest place, and to be inferior 

TO every 0NE.3 

^FISH ALWAYS, AND PRAY, THAT THE WILL OF Goil 
MAY BE WHOLI-Y FULFILLED IN THEE.* 

Behold, such a man enteretli within the borders of 
peace and rest. 

II. O Lord, this short discourse of Thine containeth 
within itself much perfection.^ 

It is little to be spoken, but full of meaning, and 
abundant in fruit. 

For if it could faithfully be kept by me, I ought not 
to be so easily disturbed. 

For as often as I feel myself unquiet and weighed 
down, I find that I have gone back from this doctrine. 

But Thou who canst do all things, and ever lovest 
the profiting of my soul, increase in me Thy grace, 
that I may be able to fulfil Thy words, and to work out 
mine own salvation. 

Matt. xxvi. [39] ; John v. [30], vi. [38]. 
2 1 Cor. X. [24]. 3 Luke xiv. [101. 

* Matt. vi. [lOJ. Matt. v. [48]. 



OF THE WAY OF PEACE 117 

A Prayer against evil thoughts. 

III. O Lord my God, be not Thou far from me ; 
my God^ ha\ e regard to help me : ' for there have risen 
up against me sundry thoughts, and great fears, afflict- 
ing my soul. 

How shall I pass through unhurt } how shall I break 
them to pieces ? 

' I will go before thee (saith He), and will humble 
the great ones of the earth ; I will open the doors of 
the prison, and reveal unto thee hidden secrets.'^ 

Do, O Lord, as Thou sayest, and let all my evil 
thoughts fly from before Thy face. 

This is my hope, my one only consolation, to flee 
unto Thee in every tribulation, to trust in 'ITiee, to call 
upon Thee from my inmost heart, and to wait patiently 
for Thy consolation. 

A Prayer for mental illumination. 

IV. O merciful Jkscs, enlighten Thou me with a clear 
shining inward light, and remove away all darkness 
from the habitation of my heart. 

Repress Thou my many wandering thoughts, and 
break in pieces those temptations which violently 
assault me. 

Fight Tliou strongly for me, and vanquish the evil 
beasts, I mean the alluring desires of the flesh ; that so 
peace may be obtained by Thy power, and that Tliine 
abundant praise may resound in Thy holy court, that 
is, in a pure conscience. 

Command the winds and tempests ; say unto the sea. 
Be still ; ^ say to the north wind. Blow not ; and there 
shall be a great calm. 

V. Send out Thy light and Thy truth,* that they 
may shine upon the earth ; for until Thou enlighten 
me, I am but as earth without form and void. 

Pour forth Thy grace from above, imbue my heart 

' Psalm Ixxi. [12]. Isaiah xlv. [2, 3]. 

Matt. viii. [26]. Psalm xliii. [3]. 



118 OF THE IMITATION OF CHRIST 

with heavenly dew, supply fresh streams of devotion, to 
water the face of the earth, that it may bring forth 
fruit good and excellent. 

Lift Thou up my mind which is pressed down by a 
load of sins, and draw up my whole desire to things 
heavenly ; that having tasted the sweetness of supernal 
happiness, it may be irksome to me even to think 
about earthly things. 

VI. Do Thou pluck me away, and deliver me from 
all transitory consolation of creatures ; for no created 
thing can give full comfort and rest to my desires. 

Join Thou me to Thyself with an inseparable band of 
love ; for Thou even alone dost satisfy him that loveth 
Thee, and without Thee all things are vain and 
frivolous. 



y 



CHAPTER XXIV 

OF AVOIDING CURIOUS ENQUIRY INTO OTHER MEn's 
LIVES 



My son, be not curious, nor trouble thyself with idle 
anxieties.^ 

^V'hat is this or that to thee.'' follow thou Me.^ 

For what is it to thee, wliether that man be such or 
such, or whether this man do or speak this or that ? 

Thoii shalt not need to answer for others, but shalt 
give account for thyself ; ^ why therefore dost thou 
entangle thyself.'' 

Behold, 1 know every one, and do see all things 
that are done under the sun ; also I understand how it 
is with every one, what he thinks, what he wishes, and 
at what his intentions aim. 

Unto Me therefore all things are to be committed ; 
but do thou keep thyself gently at peace, and let go 
the unquiet, to be as unquiet as they will. 

1 EccluB. iii. [23] ; 1 Tim. v. [13]. ' John xxi. [22]. 

Gal. vi. [4, 5]. 



OF TRUE PEACE OF HEART 119 

^VTiatsoever they shall have done or said, shall come 
upon themselves, for Me tliey cannot deceive. 

II. Be not careful for the shadow of a great name, or 
for the familiar friendship of many, or for the private 
affection of men. 

For these things both distract the heart, and greatly 
darken it. 

Willingly would I speak My word, and reveal My 
secrets unto thee, if thou wouldest diligently observe 
My coming, and open unto Me the door of thine heart. 

Be thou circumspect, and watchful in prayer, and in 
all things humble thyself. 



CHAPTER XXV 

WHEREIN FIRM PEACE OF HEART AND TRUE 
SPIRITUAL PROGRESS CONSISTETH 

My son, I have spoken ; ' Peace I leave with you, My 
peace I give unto you : not as the world giveth, give I. 
unto you.'^ 

Peace is what all desire, but all do not care for the 
things that pertain unto true peace. 

My peace is with the humble and gentle of heart ; in 
much patience shall thy peace be. 

If thou wilt hear Me and follow My voice, thou shalt 
be able to enjoy much peace. 

What then shall I do. Lord ? 

In every matter look to thyself, what thou doest 
and what thou sayest ; and direct thy whole attention 
unto this, that thou mayest please Me alone, and 
neither desire or seek any thing besides Me. 

But of the words or deeds of others judge nothing 
rashly ; neither do thou entangle thyself with things 
not committed unto thee ; and doing thus thou mayest 
be little or seldom disturbed. 

John xiv. [27]. 



120 OF THE IMITATION OF CHRIST 

II. But never to feel any disturbance at all, nor to 
suffer any trouble of mind or body, belongs not to this 
life, but to the state of eternal Rest. 

Think not therefore that thou hast found true peace, 
if thou feel no heaviness ; nor that then all is well, if 
thou art vexed with no adversary ; nor that ' to be 
perfect/ is to have all things done according to thy 
desire. 

Neither do thou then esteem at all highly of thyself, 
or account thyself to be specially beloved, if thou be in 
a state of great devotion and sweetness ; for it is not 
. by these things that a true lover of virtue is known 
nor doth the [spiritual] progress and perfection of a 
man consist in these things. 

III, Whereix then, O Lord, doth it consist ? 

In giving thyself over with all thy heart to the Divine 
Will, not seeking thine own interest, either in great 
matters or in small, either in time or in eternity. 

So shalt thou keep one and the same countenance, 
always with thanksgiving,' both in prosperity and ad- 
versity, weighing all things with an equal balance. 

Be thou of such courage, and so patient in hope, that 

when inward comfort is withdrawn, thou mayest prepare 

thy heart to suffer even greater things ; and do not 

justify thyself, as though thou oughtest not to suffer 

j these afflictions or any so great, but justify Me in what- 

j soever I appoint, and still praise My Holy Name. 

Then shalt thou walk in the true and right way of 

peace, and thou shalt have undoubted hope to see My 

face again with great delight. 

For if thou attain to the full contempt of thyself, 
know that thou shalt then enjoy abundance of peace, as 
great as this thy state of sojourning is capable of. 



f^ 



OF SPIRITUAL FREEDOM OF iMIND 121 



CHAPTER XXVI 

OP, THE EXCELLENCY OF A FREE MIND^ "WHICH IS SOONER 
GAINED BY HUMBLE PRAYER THAN BY REA]>ING 

O Lord, it is the business of a perfect man, never to 
relax his mind from attentive thought of heavenly 
things, and thus to pass amidst many cares (as it were) 
without care ; not as one destitute of all feeling, but by 
the privilege of a free mind, cleaving to no creature 
with inordinate affection. 

II. I beseech Thee, my most gracious God, preserve 
me from the cares of thislife, lest I should be too much 
entangled therein ; also from the many necessities of 
the body, lest I should be ensnared by pleasure ; and 
from whatsoever is an obstacle to the soul, lest being 
broken with troubles 1 should be overthrown. 

I speak not of those things which worldly vanity so 
earnestly desireth, but of those miseries, which as 
punishments and a? the common curse of mortality,^ do 
weigh down and hinder the soul of Thy servant, that it 
cannot enter into the freedom of the Spirit, so often as 
it would. 

III. O my God, Thou sweetness ineffable, make bitter 
for me all carnal comfort, which draws me away from 
the love of things eternal, and in evil manner allures 
me to itself by the view of some present delightsome 
good. 

Let me not be overcome, O Lord, let me not be over- 
come by flesh and blood ; ^ let not the world and the 
brief glory thereof deceive me ; let not the devil and his 
subtle fraud supplant me. 

Give me strength to resist, patience to endure, and 
constancy to persevere. 

Give me instead of all the comforts of the world, the 
most sweet unction of Thy Spirit, and in place of carnal 
love, pour in the love of Thy name. 

Gen. iii. [17] ; Eom. vii. [23, 24]. 
* Rom. xii. [21]. 






II 



122 OF THE IMITATION OF CHRIST 

IV, Behold ! meat, drink, clothes, and other neces- 
saries for the maintenance of the body, are burdensome 
unto a fervent spirit. 

Grant me to use such refreshments moderately, and 
not to be entangled with an over-great desire of them. 

It is not lawful to cast away all things, because 
nature is to be sustained ; but to require superfluities, 
and those things that are merely pleasurable, the holy 
law forbiddeth us ; for then the flesh would rebel 
against the Spirit. Herein, I beseech Thee, let Thy 
hand govern me and teach me, that I may not exceed 
in anything. 



CHAPTER XXVII 

THAT IT IS PRIVATE LOVE WHICH MOST HINDERETH FROM 
THE CHIEFEST GOOD 

My son, thou oughtest to give all for all, and to be 
nothing of thyself. 

Know thou, that the love of thyself doth thee more 
hurt than anytliing in the world. 

According to the love and aff'ection which thou bear- 
est towards any thing, so doth it more or less cleave to 
thee. 

If thy love be pure, ' simple and well-ordered, thou 
shalt be free from the bondage of things. 

Do not covet that which it is not lawful for thee to 
have. Do not have that which may entangle thee, and 
deprive thee of inward liberty. 

Strange it is that thou conmiittest not thyself wholly 
unto Me, from the bottom of thy heart, with all things 
thou canst have or desire. 

II. \^^hy dost thou consume thyself with vain grief ?^ 
why weary thyself with superfluous cares .'' 

Stand to My good will, and thou shalt suffer no 
detriment at all. 

Matt. vi. [2-2]. ' Exodus xviii. [18] ; Mic. iv. [9]. 



OF THE EVIL OF SELF-LOVE 123 

If thou seek this or that, and wouldest be in such or 
such a place, the better to enjoy thy own profit and 
pleasure, thou shalt never be at quiet, nor free from 
trouble of mind ; for in every instance somewhat will 
be wanting, and in every place there will be some one 
to cross thee. 

III, Man's welfare then lies not in obtaining and 
multiplying any external things, but rather in despising 
them, and utterly rooting them out from the heart. 

And this thou must understand not of income and 
wealth only, but of seeking after honour also, and the 
desire of vain praise, all which must pass away with this 
world. 

The place availeth little if the spirit of fervour be 
wanting, neither shall that peace long continue, which 
is sought from without ; ^ if the state of thy heart be 
destitute of a true foundation, that is, unless thou stand 
steadfast in Me, thou mayest change but not better 
thyself. 

For when occasion arises, and is laid hold of, thou 
shalt find what thou didst flee from, and more too. 

A Prayer for a clean heart, and Heavenly 
Wiadom. 

IV, Strengthen me, O God, by the grace of Thy 
Holy. Spirit. 2 

Grant me to be strengthened with might in the inner 
man,^ and to empty my heart of all useless care and 
anguish ; * not to be drawn away with sundry desires of 
any thing whatever, whether mean or precious, but to 
look on all things as passing away, and on myself also 
no less as about to pass away with them. 

For nothing is permanent under the sun, where all 
things are vanity and vexation of spirit.^ O how wise is 
he that so considereth them ! 

V, O Lord, grant me Heavenly wisdom,^ that I may 



> Isaiah xli. [13], ' Psalm 

Eph. iii. [16]. " Matt. 

Eccles. i. [14], ii. [17, 26]. Wisd 



31 li. [12], 
,. vi. [.34l. 
1. ix. [4]. 



124 OF THE IMITATION OF CHRIST 

learn above all things to seek and to find Thee, above 
all things to relish and to love Thee, and to think of all 
other things as being, what indeed they are^ at the 
disposal of Thy wisdom. 

Grant me prudently to avoid him that flatters me, 
and to endure patiently him that contradicts me. 

Because it is a great part of wisdom not to be moved 
with every wind of words, ^ nor to give ear to an ill 
flattering siren ; for thus we shall go on securely in the 
way which we have begun. 



CHAPTER XXVIII 

AOAINST THE TONGUES OF SLANDERERS 

My son, take it not grievously if some think ill of thee/'' 
and speak that which thou wouldest not willingly hear. 

Thou oughtest to judge the worst of thyself, and to 
think no man weaker than thyself. 

If thou dost walk inwardly, thou wilt not much weigh 
fleeting words outwardly. 

It is no small prudence to keep silence in an evil time, 
and inwardly to turn thyself to Me, and not to be 
troubled by the judgment of men. 

II. Let not thy peace be in the tongues of men ; for 
whether they interpret well or ill of thee thou art not 
1/ therefore another man. AVhere are true peace and 
true glory ? are they not in Me ? ^ 

And he that neither coveteth to please men, nor 
feareth to displease them, shall enjoy much peace. 

From inordinate love and vain fear ariseth all disquiet- 
ness of heart and distraction of the mind. 

Eph. iv. [11]. 2 ICor. iv. [13]. 

' John xvi, [33], , 



II 



SEEKING GOD IN TIME OF AFFLICTION 126 



^/(, CHAPTER XXIX ^']X/A^ 0^' 'Vi*^ 

HOW WE OUGHT TO CALL UPON GOD, AND TO BLESS HIM, 
WHEN TRIBULATION IS UPON US 

Blessed be Thy Name, O- Lord, for ever ; ^ for that it 
is Thy will that this temptation and tribulation should 
come upon me. 

I caunlJt escape it, but must needs flee to Thee, that 
Thou mayest help me, and turn it to my good. 

Lord, 1 am now in affliction, and my heart is ill 
at ease, for I am much troubled with the present 
suifering. 

And now, O Beloved Father, what shall I say }'^ I am 
caught amidst straits ; save Thou me from this hour. 

Yet therefore came I unto this hour, that Thou mayest 
be glorified, when I shall have been greatly humbled, 
and by Thee delivered. 

Let it please Thee, Lord, to deliver me ; ^ for, poor 
wretch that I am, what can I do, and whither shall I go , 
without Thee .'' 

Grant me patience, O Lord, even now in this emerg- 
ency. Help me, my God, and then I will not fear, how 
grievously soever I be afflicted. 

II. And now amidst tliese my troubles what shall 
I say? 

Lord, Thy will be done ; * I have well deserved to be 
afflicted and weighed do-ivn. 

Therefore 1 ought to bear it ; and O that I may bear 
it with patience, until the tempest pass over, and all be 
well again, or even better ! 

Howbeit lliy Omnipotent hand is able to take even 
tliis temptation from me, and to assuage the violence 
tliereof, that 1 utterly sink not under it ; as oftentimes 

> Job i. [21] ; Psalm cxiii. [-2]. 
* Matt xxvi. [or John xii. 27]. 
Psalm xl. [l.-i], Matt. vi. [10], 



126 OF THE IMITATION OF CHRIST 

heretofore Thou hast dealt with me, O my God, my 
Mercy ! 

And the more difficult it is to me, so much the more 
easy to Thee is this change of the right hand of the 
Most High. 



/ > CHAPTER XXX ^'F^ ^^' '^'*' 

OF CRAVING THE DIVINE AID, AND CONFIDENCE OF 
RECOVERING GRACE 

My son, I am the Lord, that giveth strength in the day 
of tribulation. ' 

C'ome thou unto Me, when it is not well with thee.^ 

ITiis is that which most of all hindereth Heavenly 
consolation, that thou art too slow in turning thyself 
unto prayer. 

For before thou dost earnestly supplicate Me, thou 
seekest in the meanwhile many comforts, and refreshest 
thyself in outward things. 

And hence it comes to pass that all doth little profit 
thee, until thou well consider that I am He who do 
rescue them that trust in Me ; and that out of Me, 
there is neither powerful help, nor profitable counsel, 
nor lasting remedy. 

But do thou, having now recovered breath after the 
tempest, gather strength again in the light of My 
mercies ; for I am at hand (saith the Lord) to repair all, 
not only entirely, but also abundantly and in most 
plentiful measure. 

II. Is there any thing hard to Me ? or shall I be like 
one that saith and doeth not? ^ 

Where is thy faith ? stand firmly and with persever- 
ance ; take courage and be patient ; comfort will come 
to thee in due time. 

1 Nahum i. [7]. Matt. xi. [28]. 

Matt, xxiii. [3], 



TRUSTING GOD IN TIME OF AFFLICTION 127 

"NFait, wait I say, for Me : I will come and take cai-e 
of thee. 

It is a temptation that vexeth thee, and a vain fear 
that affrighteth thee. 

What else doth anxiety about future contingencies 
bring thee, but sorrow upon sorrow ? ' Sufficient far 
the day is the evil thereof.' ^ 

It is a vain thing and unprofitable, to be either 
disturbed or pleased about future things, which per- 
haps will never come to pass. 

III. But it is incident to man, to be deluded with 
such imaginations ; and a sign of a mind as yet weak, 
to be so easily drawn away by the suggestions of 
the Enemy. 

For so he may delude and deceive thee, he careth not 
whether it be by true or by false propositions ; nor 
whether he overthrows thee with the love of pi'esent, or 
the fear of future things. 

Let not therefore thy heart be troubled, neither let 
it fear. 

Trust in Me, and put thy confidence in My mercy. ^ 

^Vhen thou thiukest thyself farthest off from Me, 
oftentimes I am nearest unto thee. 

When thou countest almost all to be lost, then often- 
times the greatest gain of reward is close at hand. 

All is not lost, when any thing falleth out contrary. 

Thou oughtest not to judge according to present feel- 
ing ; nor so to take any grief, or give thyself over to it, 
from whencesoever it cometh, as though all hopes of 
escape were quite taken away. 

IV. Think not thyself wholly left, although for a time 
I have sent thee some tribulation, or even have with- 
drawn thy desired comfort ; for this is the way to the 
Kingdom of Heaven. 

And without doubt it is more expedient for thee and 
the rest of My servants, that ye be exercised with 
adversities, than that ye should have all things accord- 
ing to your desires. 

Matt. vi. [34]. PsalTi xci. [2]. 



128 OF THE IMITATION OF CHRIST 

1 know the secret thoughts of thy heart, and that it 
is very expedient for thy welfare, that thou be left some- 
times without taste [of spiritual sweetness, and in a dry 
condition], lest perhaps thou shouldest be puifed up 
with thy prosperous estate, and shouldest be willing 
ID please thyself in that which thou art not. 

'fhat which I have given, I can take away ; and I 
can restore it again when I please. 

V. When I give it, it is Mine ; when I withdraw it, 
I take not any tiling that is thine ; for Mine is every 
good gift and every perfect gift.^ 

If I send upon thee affliction, or any cross whatever, 
repine not, nor let thy heart fail thee ; I can quickly 
succour thee, and turn all thy heaviness into joy. 

Howbeit I am righteous, and greatly to be praised 
when I deal thus with thee. 

VI. If thou art wise, and considerest what the truth 
is, thou never oughtest to mourn dejectedly for any 
adversity that befalleth thee, but rather to rejoice and 
give thanks. 

Yea, thou wilt account this time especial joy, that I 
afflict thee with sorrows, and do not spare thee. 

'As the Father hath loved Me, I also love you,'^ 
said I unto My beloved disciples ; whom certainly I 
sent not out to temporal joys, but to great conflicts ; 
not to honours, but to contempts ; not to idleness, but 
to labours ; not to rest, but to bring forth much fruit 
with patience. Remember thou these words, O my son ! 



CHAPTER XXXI 

OF THE CONTEMPT OF ALL CREATURES, TO FIND OUT 
THE CREATOR 

Lord, I stand much in need of yet greater grace, if 

1 ought to reach that pitch, where neither man nor any 
creature shall be a hindrance unto me. 

1 James i. [1"]. * John xv. [9], 



LEAVING CREATURE FOR CREATOR 129 

For as long as any thing holds me back^ I cannot 
freely take my flight to Thee. 

He was longing to fly freely who said, ' O that I had 
wings like a dove, and I will flee away and be at 
rest ! ' 1 

\\"hat is more at rest than the single eye ? ^ and what 
is more free than he that desireth nothing upon 
earth ? 

A man ought therefore to mount over all creatures, 
and perfectly to go out of himself and stand in a sort 
of ecstacy of mind, and to see that Thou, the Creator 
of all things, hast nothing amongst creatures like unto 
Thyself. 

Unless too a man be set free from all creatures, he 
cannot with freedom of mind attend unto divine things. 

For that is the reason why there are few contempla- 
tive men to be found, because few have the knowledge 
to withdraw themselves fully from perishing creatures. 

II. To obtain this there is need of much grace, 
which may elevate the soul, and can-y it away above 
itself. 

And unless a man be elevated in spirit, and freed 
from all creatures, and wholly united unto God, what- 
soever he knoweth, and whatsoever he hath, is of no 
great weight. 

For a loi'ig while shall he be small, and lie grovelling 
below, whoever he be that esteenieth any thing great, 
but the One only Infinite Eternal Good. 

And whatsoever is not God, is nothing, and ought to 
be accounted as nothing. 

There is great difference between the wisdom of an 
illuminated and devout man, and the knowledge of a 
learned and studious clerk. 

Far more noble is that learning whicli floweth from 
above, from the Divine influence, than that which is 
painfully acquired by the wit of man. 

III. There are many that desire contemplation, but 
they have no mind to practise the things that are 
required thereunto. 

I Psalm Iv. [6]. Matt. vi. [22]. 

K 



130 OF THE IMITATION OF CHRISl' 

It is also a great hindrance^ that men rest in signs 
and sensible things, and take little care about the 
perfect mortification of themselves. 

I know not what it is, or by what spirit we are led, 
or what we pretend, we that seem to be called spiritual, 
that we take so much pains, and are so full of anxiety 
about transitory and mean things, while we scarcely at 
all, or but seldom, think of our own inward concern- 
ments, with full recollection of mind. 

IV. Alas, presently after a slight recollection we 
break out again, and weigh not our works with diligent 
and strict examination. 

We mind not where our affections lie, nor bewail the 
impurity that is in all our actions. 

For ' all flesh had corrupted liis way,' and therefore 
did the great deluge ensue. ^ 

Since then our inward affection is much corrupted, 
our actions thence proceeding must needs be corrupted 
also, giving proof of the want of internal vigour. 

From a pure heart proceedeth the fruit of a good 
life. 

V. We ask how much a man has done, but from 
what degree of virtuous principle he acts, is not so 
carefully weighed. 

We enquire whether he has been courageous, rich, 
handsome, skilful, a good writer, a good singer, or a 
good labourer ; but how poor he is in spirit, how 
patient and meek, how devout and spiritual, is seldom 
spoken of. 

Nature respecteth the outward things of a man. 
Grace turneth itself to the inward. 

The one is often disappointed ; the other hath her 
trust in God, and so is not deceived. 

Gen. vi. [12], vii. [21], 



OF SELF-DENIAL 131 



CHAPTER XXXII 

OF SELF-DENIAL, AND RENOUNCING EVERY EVIL APPETITB 

My son, thou canst not possess perfect liberty unless 
thou wholly renounce thyself.^ 

They are but in fetters, all who merely seek their 
own interest, and are lovers of themselves ; covetous 
are they, inquisitive, gossiping, always seeking what is 
soft and delicate, not the things of Jesus Christ, but 
oftentimes devising and framing that which will not 
continue. 

For all that is not of God shall perish. 

Keep this short and complete saying : ' Forsake all 
and thou shalt find all.' Leave concupiscence and thou 
shalt find rest. 

W^eigh this thoroughly in thy mind, and when thou 
hast fulfilled it, thou shalt understand all things, 

II. O Lord, this is not the work of one day, nor 
children's sport ; yea rather in this short word is 
included all the perfection of religious persons. 

III. My son, thou oughtest not to turn away, nor at 
once to be cast down, when thou hearest of the way of 
the perfect ; but shouldest rather be stirred up to 
higher things, at least in desire to sigh after them. 

I would it were so with thee, and thou wert arrived 
at this, to be no longer a lover of thyself, but didst 
stand merely at My beck, and at his whom I have 
appointed a father over thee ; then shouldest thou 
exceedingly please Me, and all thy life would pass 
away in joy and peace. 

Thou hast yet many things to part with, which unless 
thou wholly resign up unto Me, thou shalt not attain 
to that which thou desirest. 

* I counsel thee to buy of Me gold tried in the fire, 

Matt. xvi. [24], xix. [21]. 



132 OF THE IMITATION OF CHRIST 

that thou mayest become rich ; " ^ that is. Heavenly 
A\^isdom, which treadeth under foot all that is mean 
and low. 

Set little by earthly wisdom^ and care not fondly to 
please others or thyself. 

JV. I saidj that mean things must be bought with 
things which, among men, are precious and of great 
esteem. 

For true Heavenly Wisdom doth seem very mean, of 
small account, and almost forgotten among men, as 
having no high thoughts of itself, nor seeking to be 
magnified upon earth. Many indeed praise it with 
their mouth, but in their life they are far from it ; yet 
is it the precious pearl,^ which is hidden from many. 



CHAPTER XXXIII 

OF INCONSTANCY OF HEART, AND OF HAVING OUR FINAL 
INTENTIONS DIRECTED UNTO GOD 

My son, trust not to thy feeling, for whatever it be 
now, it will quickly be changed into another thing. 

As long as thou livest, thou art subject to mutability,^ 
even against thy will ; so as thou art found one while 
merry, another while sad ; one while quiet, another 
while troubled ; now devout, then indevout ; now 
diligent, then listless ; now grave, and then light. 

But he that is wise and well instructed in the Spirit 
standeth fast upon these mutable things ; not heeding 
what he feeleth in himself, or which way the wind of 
instability bloweth ; but so that the whole intention of 
his mind tendeth to the right and best end. 

For thus he will be able to continue throughout one 
and the self-same, and unshaken ; in the midst of so 

Rev. ill. [18]. 2 Matt. xiii. [46], 

Job xiv. [2]. 



OF THE SWEETNESS OF GOD'S LOVE 133 

many various events the single eye of his intention 
being directed unceasingly towards Me. 

II. And the purer the eye of the intention is,^ with 
so much the more constancy doth a man pass through 
the several kinds of storms which assail him. 

But in many the eye of a pure intention waxes dim, 
for their regard is quickly drawn aside to some pleasur- 
able object which meets them. 

For it is rare to find one who is wholly free from all 
blemish of self-seeking. 

So of old the Jews came to Bethany to Martha and 
Mary, not for Jesus' sake only, but that they might 
see Lazarus also.^ 

The eye of our intention therefore is to be purified, 
that it may be single and right,^ and is to be directed 
towards Me, beyond all the various objects which may 
come between. 



CPI AFTER XXXIV 

THAT GOD IS SWEET ABOVE ALL THINGS, AND IN ALL 
THINGS, TO HIM THAT LOVETH HUM 

'Behold ! My God, and all things [to me].' ^Vhat 
can I wish more, and what happier thing can I long 
for? 1 

O sweet and savoury word ! to him, that is, who 
loveth the word, not the world nor the things that are 
in the world. 

' My God, and all things.' To him that under- 
standeth, enough is said ; and to repeat it often, is 
delightful to him that loveth. 

Forasmuch as when Thou art present, all things 
are delightful, but when Thou art absent, every thing 
becomes irksome. 

Matt. vi. [22], John xii. [9]. 

' Matt. vi. [22]. 



134 OF THE IMITATION OF CHRIST 

Thou givest quietness of heart, and great peace, and 

festive joy. 

Thou makest us to think well of all circumstances, 
and in all to praise Thee ; neither can any thing please 
long without Thee ; but if it must needs be pleasant 
and tasteful, Thy Grace must be present, and it must 
be seasoned with" the seasoning of Thy M^isdom. 

II. What will not be tasteful unto him that hath a 
true relish for Thee ? 

And him that hath no relish for Thee, what shall 
have power to please ? 

But the wise men of the world, and they also who 
relish the things of the flesh, are destitute of Thy 
wisdom ; > for in the former is found the utmost vanity, 
and in the latter death. 

But they that follow Thee by the contempt of worldly 
things, and mortification of the flesh, are known to be 
truly wise ; for they are brought over from vanity to 
' truth, from the flesh to the spirit. 

These relish God ; and what good soever is found in 
creatures, they wholly refer unto the praise of their 
Maker. 

Great, however, yea, very great is the difi"erence 
between the sweetness of the Creator and of the 
creature, of Eternity and of time, of Light uncreated 
and of light enlightened. 

III. O Everlasting Light, surpassing all created 
luminaries, dart Thou the beams of Thy brightness 
from above, which may penetrate all the most inward 
parts of my heart. 

Purify, rejoice, enlighten and enliven my spirit, with 
all the powers thereof, that I may cleave unto Thee 
with most exceeding joy and triumph. 

O when will that blessed and desired hour come, that 
Thou mayest satisfy me with Thy Presence, and be unto 
me All in all. 

So long as this is not granted me, I shall not have 

full joy. 

1 Cor. i. [26] ; Rom. viii. [5] ; 1 John ii. [16]. 



OF WELL ENDURING TEMPTATION 135 

Still, alas ! the old Man doth live in me/ he is not 
wholly crucified^ is not perfectly dead. 

Still lusteth he mightily against the Spirit, and 
stirreth up inward wars, nor sufferetli the kingdom of 
the soul to be in peace. 

n'. But Tlioii that lulest the power of the sea, and 
stillest the violent motion of its waves,^ arise and 
help me ! 

Scatter the nations that desire war ; ' crush Thou <^ 

them in Thy might. (i<J^~Q 

Display Thy wonderful works, I beseech Thee, and ' 

let Thy right hand be glorified ; for there is no other /^'^ 
hope or refuge for me, save in Thee, O Lord my 
God.* 



CHAPTER XXXV 



fla-iy^'' 



THAT THERE IS NO SECURITY FROM TEMPTATION IX 
THIS LIFE 

My son, thou art never secure in this life, but, as long 
as tliou livest,"thou shalt always need spiritual armour. 

Thou dwellest among enemies, and art assaulted on 
the right hand and on the left. 

If therefore thou defend not thyself on every side 
with the shield of patience, thou wilt not be long with- 
out a wound. 

Moreover, if thou set not thy heart fixedly on Me, 
with a sincere wish to suifer all things for Me, thou 
wilt not be able to bear the heat of this combat, nor to 
attain to the palm of the blessed. 

Thou oughtest therefore manfully to go through all, 
and to use a strong hand against whatsoever with- 
standeth thee. 

Rom. vii. Psalm Ixxxix. [9]. Psalm Ixviii. [.SOI. 

* Psalui xxxi. [14]. * Job vii. [1]. 2 Cor. vi. [7]. 



136 OF THE IMITATION OF CHRIST 

For to him that overcometh is Manna given, and for 
the indolent there remaineth much misery. 

II. If thou seek rest in this life, how wilt thou then 
attain to the everlasting Rest.'' 

Dispose not thyself for much rest, but for great 
patience. 

Seek true peace, not in earth, but in Heaven ; not in 
men, nor in any other creature, but in God alone. 

For the love of God thou oughtest cheerfully to 
undergo all things, that is to say, all labour and pain, 
temptation, vexation, anxiety, necessity, infirmity, 
injury, obloquy, reproof, humiliation, confusion, cor- 
rection, and scorn. 

These help to virtue ; these are the trial of a novice 
in Christ ; these frame the Heavenly Crown. 

I will give an everlasting reward for a short labour, 
and infinite glory for transitory confusion. 

III. Thinkest thou that thou shalt always have 
spiritual consolations at thine own will ? 

My saints had not such always, but they had many 
afflictions, and sundry temptations, and feelings of 
great desolateness. 

Nevertheless in all these they bore themselves up 
patiently, and trusted rather in God than in themselves ; 
knowing that the sufl'erings of this time are not worthy 
to be compared with the future glory. ^ 

Wilt thou have that at once, which many after many 
tears and great labours have hardl)'^ obtained ? 

VV^ait for the Lord, behave thyself manfully, and be 
of good courage ; '' do not distrust [Him], do not leave 
thy place, but steadily expose both body and soul for 
the glory of God. 

I will reward thee in most plentiful manner ; I will 
be with thee in every tribulation. 

Eom. viii. [18], Psalm xxvii. [14], 



OF DISREGARDING MAN'S JUDGMENT 137 
CHAPTER XXXVI 

AGAINST THE VAIN JUDGMENTS OF MEN 

My son, cast thy heart firmly on the Lord, and fear f 
not the judgment of men, when conscience testifieth of / 
thy dutifulness and innocency. 

It is a good and happy thing to suffer in such a 
way ; nor will this be grievous to a heart which is 
humble, and which trusteth rather in God than in 
itself. 

The most part of men are given to talk much, and 
therefore little confidence is to be placed in them. 

Moreover also, to satisfy all is not possible. 

Although Paul endeavoured to please all in the Lord, 
and was made all things to all men,i yet with him it 
was a very small thing that he should be judged of 
man's judgment.'^ 

II. He did abundantly for the edification and 
salvation of others as much as lay in his power to 
do ; ^ yet could he not hinder but that he was by others 
sometimes judged, sometimes despised. 

Therefore he committed all to God, who knew all ; 
and when men spake unjust things, or thought vanities 
and lies, and boasted themselves as they listed, he 
defended himself, even to their face, with humility and 
patience. 

Sometimes however he made answer, lest the weak 
should be offended by his silence.'* 

HI. Who art thou that thou shouldest fear a mortal 
man .'' to-day he is, and to-morrow he is not seen.^ 

Fear God, and thou shalt not shrink from the terrors 
of men. 

What harm can the words or injuries of any man do 
thee.'' he hurteth himself rather than thee, nor shall 

1 1 Cor. ix. [22]. 1 Cor. iv. [3]. Col. i. r29]. 

* Actsxxvi. ; Phil. \. [14]. 1 Mac. ii. [62, 63 J. 



138 OF THE IMITATION OF CHRIST 

he be able to avoid the judgment of God' whosoever 
he be. 

Do thou have God before thine eyes, and contend 
not with peevish words. 

And though for the present thou seem to be worsted, 
and to suffer shame undeservedly, do not therefore 
repine, neither do thou lessen thy crown by im- 
patience. ^ 

But rather lift thou up thine eyes unto Me in 
Heaven, who am able to deliver thee from all shame 
and wrong, and to render to every man according to 
his works. 



CHAPTER XXXVII 

OF PURE AND ENTIRE RESIGNATION OF OURSELVES, FOR 
THE OBTAINING FREEDOM OF HEART 

My son, forsake thyself, and thou shalt find Me.^ 

Stay where thou art, making no choice, nor appro- 
priating any thing whatever to thyself ; and thou shalt 
always be a gainer. 

For even greater grace shall be added to thee, the 
moment thou dost resign thyself, provided thou dost 
not turn back to take thyself again. 

Lord, how often shall I resign myself.'' and wherein 
shall I forsake myself? 

Always, yea, every hour ; as well in small things as 
in great. I except nothing, but do desire that thou be 
found stripped of all things. 

Otherwise, how canst thou be Mine, and I thine, 
unless thou be stript of all self-will, both within and 
without.'' 

1 Rom. ii. [3] ; 1 Cor. xi. [32]. Heb. xii. [1, 2]. 
Matt. xvi. [24]. 



ATTAINING TRUE FREEDOM OF HEART 139 

llie sooner thou doest this, the better it will be with 
thee ; and the more fully and sincerely thou doest it, 
so much the more shalt thou please Me, and so much 
the greater shall be thy gain. 

II. Some there are who resign themselves, but with 
certain exceptions : for they put not their full trust in 
God, and therefore they study how to provide for 
themselves. 

Some also at first do offer all, but afterwards being 
assailed with temptation, they return again to their own 
ways, and therefore make no progress in the path of 
virtue. 

These shall not attain to the true liberty of a pure 
heart, nor to the favour of My sweetest familiarity, 
unless they first make an entire resignation and a daily 
oblation of themselves. ^Vithout this, there neither 
is nor can be any lasting fruitful union. 

III. I have very often said unto thee, and now again 
I say the same. Forsake thyself,^ resign thyself, and 
thou shalt enjoy much inward peace. 

Give all for all ; ask for nothing, require back 
nothing ; abide purely and unhesitatingly in Me, and 
thou shalt possess Me ; thou shalt be free in heart, and 
darkness shall not tread thee down. 

Let this be thy whole endeavour, this thy prayer, 
this thy desire ; that thou mayest be stript of all selfish- 
ness, and with entire simplicity follow Jesus only ; 
mayest die to thyself, and live eternally to Me. 

Then shalt thou be rid of all vain fancies, causeless 
perturbations, and superfluous cares. 

Then also immoderate fear shall leave thee, and 
inordinate love shall die. 

I Matt.xvi. [24]. 



140 OF THE IMITATION OF CHRIST 



CHAPTER XXXVIII 

OF GOOD GOVERNJIENT IN THINGS EXTERNAL, AND 
OF HAVING RECOURSE TO GOD IN DANGERS 

My son, thou oughtest with all diligence to endeavour, 
that in every place, and in every external action 
or occupation, thou mayest be inwardly free, and 
thoroughly master of thyself; and that all things be 
under thee, and not thou under them. 

Thou must be lord and master of thine own actions, 
and not be a slave or a hireling. 

Rather thou shouldest be as a freed man and a true 
Hebrew, passing over into the lot and freedom of the 
sons of God. 

For they standing upon things present, contemplate 
things eternal. 

With the left eye they look on transitory things, and 
with the right on the things of heaven. 

They are not drawn by temporal things to cleave 
unto them ; rather they draw temporal things to serve 
them Avell, in such ways as they are ordained by God, 
and appointed by the Great Work-master, who hath 
left nothing in His creation without due order. 

II. If too in all circumstances thou stand stedfast, 
and do not estimate the things which thou seest and 
hearest by the outward appearance, nor with a carnal 
eye ; but presently in every affair dost enter with Moses 
into the Tabernacle ' to ask counsel of the Lord ; thou 
shalt sometimes hear the Divine Oracle, and shalt 
return instructed concerning many things, both present 
and to come. 

For Moses always had recourse to the Tabernacle for 
the deciding of doubts and questions, and fled to the 
help of prayer, for support under dangers and the 
iniquity of men. 

* Exod. xxxiii. [9]. 



OF A RESIGNED WILL 141 

So oughtest thou in like manner to take refuge within 
the closet of thine heart,i very earnestly craving the 
Divine favour. 

For we read, that for this cause Joshua and the 
children of Israel were deceived hy the Gibeonites, 
because they asked not counsel beforehand at the mouth 
of tlie Lord,^ but trusting too easily to fair words, were 
deluded by counterfeit pity. 



CHAPTER XXXIX 

THAT A MAN SHOULD NOT BE FRETFUL IN MATTERS 
OF BUSINESS 

My sou, always commit thy cause to Me, I will dispose 
well of it in due time. 

^\'ait for My ordering of it, and thou shalt find it will 
be for thy good. 

O Lord, I do most cheerfully commit all unto ITiee, 
for my care can little avail. 

^V"ould that I did not so much dwell on future events, 
but gave myself up without reluctance to Thy good 
pleasure. 

II. My son, oftentimes a man vehemently struggleth 
for somewhat he desireth, but when he hath arrived at 
it, he beginneth to be of another mind ; for the affec- 
tions do not long remain on one object, but rather 
urge us from one thing to another. 

It is therefore no small benefit for a man to forsake 
himself even in the smallest things. 

III. The true profiting of a man consisteth in the 
denying of himself ; and he that is thus self-denied, 
liveth in great freedom and security. 

But the old Enemy,^ who always sets himself against 

Matt. vi. [6]. ^ Josh. ix. [14]. 1 Pet. v. [8]. 



142 OF THE LMITATION OF CHRIST 

all that are good, ceaseth at no time from tempting, but 
day and night lieth grievously in wait, to cast the 
unwary, if he can, headlong into the snare of deceit. 

' Watch ye, and pray,' saith the Lord, * that ye 
enter not into temptation. ' ^ 



CHAFFER XL 

THAT MAN HATH NO GOOD OF HIMSELF, NOR ANY THING 
WHEREOF HE CAN GLORY 

' Lord, what is man, that Thou art mindful of him, or 
tlie son of man, that Thou visitest him ? ' ^ 

VV^hat hath man deserved, that Thou shouldest grant 
him Thy favour ? 

O Lord, what cause can I have to complain, if Thou 
forsake me? or if Thou do not that which 1 desire, 
what can I justly say against it ? 

Surely this I may truly think and say ; Lord, I am 
nothing, I can do nothing, I have nothing that is good 
of myself, but in all things I am full of decay, and am 
ever tending to nothing. 

And unless Thou help me, and inwardly inform me, 
I become altogether lukewarm and ready to fall to 
pieces. 

H. But Thou, Lord, art Thyself always The Same, 
and endurest for ever ; ^ always Good, Just, and Holy ; 
doing all things well, justly, and holily, and ordering 
them in wisdom. 

Whereas I that am more ready to go backward than 
forward, do not ever continue in one estate, for ' seven 
times are passed over me.' * 

Nevertlieless it soon becometh better, when it so 
pleaseth Thee, and when Thou vouchsafest to stretch 
forth Thy helping hand ; for Thou canst help me alone 

> Matt. xxvi. [41], * Psalm viii. [4]. 

Psalm cii. [12]. Dan. iv. [16, 23, 32]. 



OF MAN'S TRUE COMFORT AND GLORY U3 

witliout human aid, and so strengthen me, that my 
countenance shall be no more changed, but my heart 
shall be turned to Thee alone, and be at rest. 

III. Wherefore, if I could once perfectly cast off all 
human consolation, either for the attainment of devo- 
tion, or because of mine own necessities, which enforce 
me to seek after Thee, (for no mortal man can comfort 
me,) then might I well hope in Thy grace, and rejoice 
in the gift of new consolation. 

IV. Thanks be unto Thee, from whom all proceedeth, 
whensoever it goes well with me. 

But 1 am in Thy sight mere vanity and nothing, an 
unconstant and weak person. 

Whereof then can I glory ; or for what do I desire 
to be respected.'' is it for being nothing? this too is 
most vain. 

Mere empty glory is in truth an evil pest, the greatest 
of vanities '; because it draweth a man from true glory, 
and robbeth him of Heavenly Grace. 

For whilst he pleaseth himself, he displeaseth Thee ; 
whilst he gapeth after the praise of men, he is deprived 
of true virtues. 

V. But the true glory and holy exultation is for a 
man to glory in Thee,' and not in himself ; to rejoice 
in Thy name, not in his own virtue, nor to take 
delight in any creature except it be for Thy sake. 

Praised be Thy Name, not mine ; magnified be Thy 
work, not mine : let Thy Holy Name be blessed, but 
to me let no part of men's praises be given. ^ 

Thou art my glory, Thou art the joy of my heart. 

In Thee will I glory and rejoice all the day, but as 
for myself, I will not glory, but in mine infirmities. 

VT. Let the Jews seek honour one of another,' I will 
ask for that which cometh from God alone. 

Truly all human glory, all temporal honour, all 
worldly highness, compared to Thy eternal glory, is 
vanity and folly. 

I Hab. ili. [18]. Ps. cxiii. [3] ; cxv. [1]. 

John v. [44]. 



144 OF THE IMITATION OF CHRIST 

O my God, my Truth, and my Mercy, O Blessed 
Trinity, to Thee alone be praise, honour, power and 
glory, for ever and ever. 



CHAPTER XLl 

OF THE CONTEMPT OF ALL TEMPORAL HONOUR 

My son, make it no matter of thine, if thou see others 
honoured and advanced, but thyself contemned and 
debased. 

Lift up thy heart into Heaven to Me, and the con- 
tempt of men on earth will not grieve thee. 

LoRP, we are in blindness, and are quickly misled by 
vanity. 

If I look rightly into myself, I cannot say that any 
creature hath ever done me wrong ; and therefore I 
cannot justlj'' complain before Thee. 

11. But because 1 have often and grievously sinned 
against Thee, all creatures do justly take arms against 
ine. 

Unto me, therefore, shame and contempt are justly 
due, but unto Thee praise, honour, and glory. 

And unless I prepare myself with cheerful willing- 
ness to be despised and forsaken of all creatures, and 
to be esteemed quite entirely nothing, I cannot obtain 
inward peace and stability, nor be spiritually enlight- 
ened, nor be fully united unto Thee. 



THE IMPERFECTION OF HUMAN LOVE 146 
CHAPTER XLII 

THAT OUR PEACE IS NOT TO BE SET ON MEN 

My son, if thou rest thy peace on any person, because 
thou hast formed a high opinion of him, and because 
you are in daily familiar intercourse with each other, 
thou wilt become entangled and unstable. 

But if thou have recourse unto the ever-living and 
abiding Truth, the desertion or death of a friend will 
not grieve thee. 

Thy regard for thy friend ought to be grounded in 
Me ; and for My sake is he to bo beloved, whosoever 
he be that thou thinkest well of, and who is very dear 
unto thee in this life. 

Without Me friendship hath no strength, no continu- 
ance ; neither is that love true and pure, which is not 
knit by Me. 

Thou oughtest to be so dead to such affections of 
beloved friends, tjiat (so far as thou art concerned) thou 
wouldest choose to be without all human sympathy. 

Man approacheth so much the nearer unto God, the 
farther he retireth from all earthly comfort. 

In proportion, too, as he descendeth lower into him- 
self, and is meaner in his own sight, so much the higher 
he ascendeth unto God. 

II. But he that attributeth any good unto himself, 
Jiindereth God's grace from coming unto him ; because 
the Grace of the Holy Spirit ever seeketh an humble 
heart.' 

If thou couldest but perfectly annihilate thyself, and 
empty thyself of all created love, then might I even 
hold Myself bound to overflow into thee with great 
Grace. 

When thou lookest to the creatures, the countenance 
of the Creator is withdrawn from thee. 

> 1 Pet. v. [5], 



146 OF THE IMITATION OF CHRIST 

Learn in all things to overcome thyself, for the sake 
of thy Creator ; then shalt thou be able to attain unto 
divine knowledge. 

How mean soever any thing be, if it is inordinately 
loved and regarded, it keeps back [the soul] from the 
Chiefest Good, and corrupts it. 



CHAPTER XLIII 

AGAINST VAIN AND SECULAR KNOWLEDGE 

My son, let not the sayings of men move tliee, however 
fair and ingenious they may be. ' For the Kingdom 
of God consisteth not in word, but in power.' ^ 

Give attention to My words, for they inflame the 
heart, and enlighten the mind ; they produce com- 
punction, and they supply abundant variety of con- 
solation. 

Never read tliou the word of God in order to a|ppear 
more learned or more wise. 

Be studious for the mortification of thy sins ; for this 
will profit thee more than the knowledge of many 
difficult questions. 

II. When thou slialt have read and known many 
things, thou must needs ever return to one Beginning 
and Principle. 

I am He that teacheth man knowledge ; and I bestow 
on little children a clearer understanding than can be 
taught by man. 

He to whom I speak, shall quickly be wise, and shall 
profit much in the Spirit. 

\V^oe be to them that enquire many curious things of 
men, and take small care about the way of serving 
Me! 

The time will come, when the Master of masters, 

1 Cor. iv. [20]. 



OF KNOWLEDGE VAJN AND SECULAR 147 

Christ the Lord of Angels, shall appear, to hear the 
lessons of all, that is, to examine the consciences of 
every one. 

And then will He search Jerusalem with candles, and 
the hidden things of darkness shall be laid open,' and 
tlie arguings of men's tongues shall be silent. 

IIL 1 am He who in one instant do lift up the 
humble mind, to comprehend more reasonings of eter- 
nal Truth, than if one had studied ten years in the 
schools. 

1 teach without noise of words, without confusion of 
opinions, without ambition of honour, without the 
scuffling of arguments. 

I am He who instruct men to despise earthly things, 
to loath things present, to seek things eternal, to relish 
things eternal ; to flee honours, to endure offences, to 
place all hope in Me, out of Me to desire nothing, and 
above all things ardently to love Me. 

IV. For a certain person, by loving Me from the 
bottom of his heart, became instructed in things divine, 
and was wont to speak admirable truths. 

He made greater progress by forsaking all things, than 
by studying subtle niceties. 

Nevertheless, to some men I speak common things, 
to others things special ; to some I gently shew Myself 
in signs and figures, whilst to some I reveal mysteries 
in much light. 

The voice of books is indeed one, but it informs not 
all alike ; for inwardly I am the teacher of the Trutli, 
the searcher of the heart, the discerner of the thoughts, 
the promoter of the actions, distributing to every man 
as I shall judge meet. 

> Zeph. i. [12] ; 1 Cor. iv. [5]. 



148 OF THE IMITATION OF CHRIST 



CHAPTER XLIV 

OF NOT FETCHING TROUBLE TO OURSELVES FROM 
OUTWARD THINGS 

My son, in many things it is thy duty to be ignorant, 
and to esteem thyself as one dead upon the earth, and 
to whom the whole world is crucified.^ 

Many things too there are which it is thy duty to 
pass by with a deaf ear, that so thou mayest be more 
mindful of those which belong unto thy peace. 

It is more profitable to turn away one's eyes from 
unpleasing subjects, and to leave each person to his 
own opinion, than to give attendance to contentious 
discourses. 

If all stand well betwixt God and thee, and thou hast 
His judgment in thy mind, thou shalt very easily endure 
to be as one defeated. 

II. O Lord, to what a pass are we come ! Behold, 
we bewail a temporal loss, for a pitiful gain we toil and 
run ; while the spiritual harm we incur is forgotten, 
and hardly at last do we return to a sense of it. 

That which little or nothing profiteth, is minded, and 
that which is especially necessary, is negligently passed 
over ; because the whole man doth slide off to external 
things, and unless he speedily recover himself, h 
eettleth down in them, and that willingly. 

Gal. vi. [14]. 



OF TRUSTING OTHERS TOO HASTILY 149 



CHAPTER XLV 

THAT CREDIT IS NOT TO BE GIVEN TO ALL, AND i"HAT 
MAN IS PRONE TO OFFEND IN WORDS 

Grant me help, O Lord, in tribulation, for vain is the 
help of man ! ' 

How often have 1 not met with faithfulness there, 
where 1 thought myself sure of it ! 

How often too have I found it there, where before- 
hand I least expected it ! 

It is vain therefore to have hope in men ; but the 
salvation of the righteous is in Thee, O God ! 

Blessed be Thou, O Lord my God, in all things that 
befall us. 

We are weak and unstable ; quickly are we deceived 
and quite changed. 

II. Who is he, that is able in all things so warily 
and circumspectly to keep himself, as never to come 
into any deception or perplexity ? 

But he that trusteth in Thee, O Lord, and seeketh 
Thee with a single heart, doth not so easily slip.^ 

And if he fall into any tribulation, be he never so 
much entangled, yet shall he quickly either through 
Thee be delivered, or by Thee be comforted ; for Thou 
wilt not forsake him that hopeth in Thee even to the 
end. 

A friend is rare to be found, that continueth faithful 
in all his friend's distresses. 

Thou, O Lord, even Thou alone art most faithful at 
all times, and there is none other like unto Thee. 

III. O how wise was that holy soul which said, ' My 
mind is firmly settled, and is grounded in Christ.' 

If thus it were with me, the fear of man would not 
eo easily vex me, nor darts of words move me. 

Who has the power to foresee, who to guard against, 

Psalm Ix. [11]. * Prov. x. [29]. 



150 OF THE IMITATION OF CHRIST 

all future evils? If even when we do foresee things, 
they oftentimes hurt us, how can unforeseen evils other- 
wise than grievously wound us ? 

But wretch as I am, why have I not foreseen better 
for myself? why too have I so easily given credit to 
others ? 

But we are men, nothing else but frail men, even 
though by many we were to be reputed and called 
Angels. 

W^hom shall I trust, O Lord ? whom shall I trust but 
Thee ? Thou art the Truth, which neither doth deceive, 
nor can be deceived. 

And on the other side, ' every man is a liar,' ^ weak, 
unconstant, and subject to fall, especially in words ; 
and therefore we must scarce ever immediately give 
credit to that which on the face of it seemeth to sound 
right. 

IV. O with what wisdom hast thou warned us to 
beware of men ; and, that a man's foes are they of his 
own household ; ^ and not to give ci-edit, if one should 
say, Lo here, or Lo there. 

My hurt has been my instructor, and I wish it may 
make me more cautious, and not more unwise. 

' Be wary,' saith one, ' be wary, keep to thyself what 
I say to thee ; ' and whilst I hold my peace, and think 
it is secret, he cannot himself keep that which he 
desired me to keep, but presently betrays both me and 
himself, and is gone. 

From such mischief-making, reckless persons protect 
Thou me, O Lord, that I neither fall into their hands, 
nor ever commit sucli things myself. 

Grant me to observe truth and constancy in my words, 
and to remove far from me a crafty tongue. 

\niat I am not willing to suffer I ought by all means 
to beware of doing. 

V. O how good is it and tending to peace, to be silent 
about other men, and not to believe indifferently all 
that is said, nor too easily to hand on reports. ^ 

Rom. iii. [4]. ' Mic. vii. [6]. * Prov. xxv. [9], 



OF RECEIVING CALUiMNIES ARIGHT 151 

[How good it is] to lay one's self open to few ; and 
ever to be seeking after Thee as the beholder of the 
heart : ^ 

And not to be carried about with every wind of words, 
but to desire that all things both within and without, 
be accomplished according to the pleasure of Thy will. 

How safe is it^ for the keeping of heavenly Grace, to 
avoid appearances, and not to seek those things which 
seem to cause admiration abroad ; but to pursue with 
all diligence the things which bring amendment of 
life and godly zeal. 

VI. How many have been the worse for having their 
virtue known and over-hastily commended ! 

How truly profitable hath grace been when preserved 
in silence, in this frail life, which we are told is all 
temptation, and warfare ! 



CHAPTER XLVI 

OF PUTTING OUR TRUST IN GOD WHEN EVIL WORDS 

ARISE 

My son, stand steadily, and put thy trust in Me ; ^ for 
what are words, but words ? 

They fly through the air, but a stone they cannot 
hurt. 

If thou art guilty, think that. thou wouldest gladly 
I amend thyself; if conscience reproach thee not, con- 
sider that thou wouldest gladly suffer this for God's 
sake. 

Little enough it is, to suffer sometimes from words, 
since thou hast not yet the courage to endure hard 
stripes. 

And why do such small matters go to thy heart, but 
because thou art yet carnal, and regardest men more 
than thou oughtest? 

* Isaiah xxvi, [3]. * Psalm xxxvii. [3]. 



162 OF THE IMITATION OF CHRIST 

For it is because thou art afraid of being despised^ 
that thou art unwilling to be reprovec^ for thy faults, 
and seekest the shelter of excuses. 

II. But look better into thyself, and thou shalt 
acknowledge that the world is yet alive in thee, and a 
vain desire to please men. 

For when thou shrinkest from being abased and 
confounded for thy faults, it is evident thou art neither 
truly humble, nor truly dead to the world, nor the 
world crucified to thee. 

But do thou give diligent ear to My word, and thou 
shalt not care for ten thousand words spoken by men. 

Behold, if all should be spoken against thee that 
could be most maliciously invented, what would it hurt 
thee, if thou wouldst suffer it to pass entirely away, 
and make no more reckoning of it than of a mote.'' 
could it pluck so much as one hair from thy head ? ^ 

III. But he that hath no heart within him, nor hath 
God before his eyes, is easily moved with a word of 
dispraise. 

Whereas he that trusteth in Me, and hath no wish 
to confide in his own judgment, shall be free from the 
fear of men. 

For I am the Judge ^ and the discerner of all secrets : 
I well understand how the matter passed ; I know him 
that ofFereth the injury, and him that sufi'ereth it. 

From Me proceedeth that word ; by My permission 
this hath happened ; that the thoughts of many hearts 
may be revealed.^ 

I shall judge the guilty, and the innocent ; but by a 
secret judgment I have thought fit beforehand to prove 
them both. 

IV. The testimony of men oftentimes deceiveth : My 
judgment is true ; it shall stand, and shall not be 
overthrown ; 

It commonly lieth hid, and is manifest but to few, 
and that in special cases : yet it never erreth, nor can 

Matt. X. [30] ; Luke xii. [7], 

Psalm vii. [8]. Luke ii. [36], 



OF RECEIVING CALUMNIES ARIGHT 153 

err, although to the eyes of the foolish it may seem not 
right. 

To Me therefore men ought to have recourse in every 
judgment, and not to lean on their own opinion. 

P'or the just man will not be disturbed/ whatsoever 
befalleth him from God. Even if an unjust charge be 
brought against him, he will not much care. 

Nor again will he vainly exult, if through others he 
be justly vindicated. 

For he considereth that I am He that searcheth the 
hearts and reins,^ and do judge not according to the 
outward face, and human appearance. 

For oftentimes that in My sight is found worthy of 
blame, which in the judgment of men is thought to be 
commendable. 

V. O Lord God, the just judge, strong and patient. 
Thou who knowest the frailty and wickedness of men, 
be Thou my strength, and all my confidence, for mine 
own conscience sufficeth me not. 

Tliou knowest what I know not ; and therefore under 
all blame I ought to humble myself, and to bear it 
meekly. 

Of i'hy mercy then forgive me whenever I have acted 
otherwise, and when the next trial comes, grant me the 
grace of more thorougli endurance. Because better to 
me is Thine overflowing pity for the obtaining of pardon, 
than any fancied righteousness of my own to ward off 
the latent misgivings of conscience. 

Although I know nothing by myself,' yet I cannot 
liereby justify myself ; for without Thy mercy, in Thy 
sight shall no man living be justified.* 

Prov. xii. [13]. " Psalm vii. [9] ; Rev. ii. [23] . 
* 1 Cor. iv. [4]. Psalm cxiiii. [2]. 



164 OF THE IMITATION OF CHRIST 



CHAPTER XLVII 

THAT AliL GRIEVOUS THINGS ARE TO BE ENDURED FOR 
THE SAKE OF ETERNAL LIFE 

My son, be not wearied out by the labours which thou 
hast undertaken for My sake, nor let tribulations cast 
thee down ever at all ; but let My promise strengthen 
and comfort thee under every circumstance. 

I am well able to reward thee, above all measure and 
degree. 

Thou shalt not long toil here, nor always be oppressed 
with griefs. 

Wait a little while, and thou shalt see a speedy end 
of thine evils. 

There will come an hour when all labour and trouble 
shall cease. 

Poor and brief is all that which passeth away with 
time. 

II. Do in earnest what thou doest ; labour faithfully 
in My vineyard ; ' I will be thy recompeuce. 

^\''rite, read, chant, mourn, keep silence, pray, endure 
crosses manfully ; life everlasting is worth all these 
conflicts, and greater than these. 

Peace shall come in one day which is known unto 
the Lord, and it shall be not day nor night,- (that is, 
of this present time,) but unceasing light, infinite 
brightness, stedfast peace, and secure rest. 

Then thou shalt not say, ' ^^ho shall deliver me from 
the body of this death ? ' ^ nor cry, ' AVoe is me, that my 
sojourning is prolonged ! ' * for death shall be cast down 
headlong, and there shall be salvation which can never 
fail, no more anxiety, blessed joy, society sweet and 
noble. 

III. O if thou liadst seen the everlasting crowns of 
the Saints in heaven,^ and with how great glory they 

Matt. XX. [7]. 2 Zecb. xiv. [7]. ' Rom. vii. [24]. 
* Psalm cxx. [5], Wisd. iii. [19], v. [16]. 



OF THE HAPPINESS OF HEAVEN 155 

now rejoice, who once were esteemed by the world as 
fontemptible, and in a manner unworthy of life itself; 
truly thou wouldest forthwith humble thyself even to 
the earth, and wouldest rather seek to be under all, 
than to have command so much as over one. 

Neither wouldest thou long for this life's pleasant 
days, but rather wouldst rejoice to suffer affliction for 
God, and esteem it thy greatest gain to be reputed as 
nothing amongst men. 

IV. O if thou hadst a relishing of these things, and 
didst suffer them to sink into the bottom of thy heart, 
how couldest tliou dare so much as once to complain ? 

Are not all painful labours to be endured for the 
sake of life eternal ? 

It is no small matter, to lose or to gain the Kingdom 
of God. 

Lift up thy face therefore unto Heaven ; behold, I 
and all My saints with Me, who in this world had great 
conflicts, do now rejoice, are now comforted, now 
secure, now at rest, and shall remain with Me ever- 
lastingly in the Kingdom of My Father. 



CHAPTER XLVIII 

OF THE DAY OF ETEBNITV, AND THIS LIFe's 
STRAITNESSES 

O MOST blessed mansion of the City which is above ! ' 
O most clear day of eternity, which night obscureth 
not, but the highest Truth ever eiilighteneth ! O day 
ever joyful, ever secure, and never changing into a 
contrary state ! 

O tliat that day might once appear, and that all these 
temporal things were at an end ! 

To the Saints indjed it shineth glowing with uninter- 
rupted brightness, but to those who are pilgrims on 

> Kev. xxi. [2], 



166 OF THE IMITATION OF CHRIST 

the earthj it appeareth only afar off^ and as through a 
glass. 

II. The Citizens of Heaven do know how joyful that 
day iSj but the banished children of Eve bewail the 
bitterness and tediousness of this. 

The days of this life are few and evil,^ full of sorrows 
and straitnesses. 

Here a man is defiled with many sins, ensnared with 
many passions, held fast by many fears, racked with 
many cares, distracted with many curiosities, entangled 
with many vanities, compassed about with many errors, 
worn away with many labours, burdened with tempta- 
tions, enervated by pleasures, tormented with want. 

III. O when shall these evils be at an end .'^ when 
shall I be delivered from the miserable bondage of my 
sins.^'' when shall I be mindful, O Lord, of Thee 
alone?' when shall I fully rejoice in Thee.'' 

AVTien shall I enjoy true liberty without all impedi- 
ments whatsoever, without all trouble of mind and 
body? 

When shall I have solid peace, peace secure and un- 
disturbed, peace within and peace without, peace every 
way assured ? 

O merciful Jksu, when shall I stand to behold Tliee ? 
when shall I contemplate the glory of Thy Kingdom ? 
when wilt Thou be unto me all in all ? 

when shall I be with Thee in Thy Kingdom, which 
Thou hast prepared for Thy beloved ones from all 
eternity ? 

1 am left, a poor and banished man, in the land of mine 
enemies, where there are daily wars and very great 
calamities. 

IV. Comfort my banishment, assuage my sorrow ; 
for my whole desire sigheth after Thee. 

For all is a burden to me, whatsoever this world 
oflFereth for consolation. 

I long to enjoy Thee most inwardly, but I cannot 
attain unto it. 

Job vii. * Rom. vii. [24]. PBalm Ixxi. [16], 



OF THE HAPPINESS OF HEAVEN 157 

My desire is, that I may be wholly given up to things 
heavenly, but temporal things and unmortitied passions 
weigh me down. 

AV'ith the mind I wish to be above all things, but 
with the flesh I am enforced against my will to be 
beneath them. 

Thus, unhappy man that I am,^ I fight against my- 
self, and am become grievous to myself, whilst my 
spirit seeketh to be above, and my flesh to be below. 

V. O what do I inwardly sufl'er, whilst in my mind 
I dwell on things Heavenly, and presently whilst I pray, 
a multitude of carnal temptations and thoughts occur 
to me ! O my God, be not Thou far from me, nor turn 
away in wrath from Thy servant.^ 

Cast forth Thy lightning, and disperse them ; shoot 
out Thine arrows, and let all the imaginations of the 
Enemy be confounded. 

Gather in, and call home my senses unto Thee ; 
make me to forget all worldly things ; enable me to cast 
away speedily, and with scorn, all vicious imaginations. 

Succour me, O Thou the everlasting Truth, that no 
vanity may move me. 

Come to me, Thou heavenly sweetness, and let all 
impurity flee from before Thy face. 

Pardon me also, and in mercy deal gently with me, 
as often as in prayer I think on aught beside Thee. 

For truly I must confess, that I am wont to yield 
to many distractions. 

Thus often and often it happens, that I am not where 
I am bodily standing or sitting, but rather there I am, 
whither my thoughts do carry me. 

Where my thoughts are, there am I ; and commonly 
there are my thoughts, where my affection is. 

That readily occurs to me, which naturally brings 
delight, or by custom is pleasing. 

VI. And for this cause. Thou that art Truth itself hast 
plainly said, ' For where thy treasure is, there thy 
heart is also. ' ^ 

1 Rom. vii. [24], viii. [23]. Psalm Ixxi. [12]. 

Matt. vi. [21]. 



168 OF THE IMITATION OF CHRIST 

If I love Heaven, I willingly muse on Fleaveuly 
things. 

If I love the world, I rejoice with the felicity of the 
world, and grieve for the adversity thereof. 

If I love the flesh, I shall be constantly imagining 
those things that are pleasing to the flesh. 

If I love the Spirit, I shall delight to think on things 
spiritual. 

For whatsoever I love, thereof do I willingly speak 
and hear, and carry home with me the forms thereof. 

But blessed is the man,' who for Thy sake, O Lord, 
is willing to part with all creatures, who does violence 
to his nature, and through fervour of the Spirit cruci- 
fieth the lust of the flesh ; that so with a serene con- 
science he may offer pure prayers unto Thee, and all 
earthly things both outwardly and inwardly being 
excluded, he may be meet to be admitted into the 
Angelical choirs. 



CHAPTER XLIX 

OF THE DESIRE OF EVERLASTING LIFE, AND HOW GREAT 
REWARDS ARE PROAIISED TO THOSE THAT STRIVE 
RESOLUTELY 

My son, when thou perceivest the desire of eternal 
bliss to be poured on thee from above, and longest to 
depart out of the tabernacle of the body, that thou 
mayest be able to contemplate My brightness, without 
shadow of turning ; open thy heart wide, and receive 
this holy inspiration with thy whole desire. 

Give greatest thanks to the Heavenly Goodness, which 
treateth thee with such condescension, visiting thee 
mercifully, stirring thee up fervently, sustaining thee 

Matt. xix. [12]. 



THE FAITHFUL CHRISTIAN'S REWARD 159 

powerfully, lest tli rough thine own weight thou sink 
down to earthly things. 

For thou dost not obtain this by thy own thought or 
endeavour, but by the mere condescension of Heavenly 
grace and Divine regard ; to the end that thou mayest 
make further progress in all virtue, and in greater 
humility, and prepare thyself for future conflicts, 
earnestly striving to cleave unto Me with the whole 
affection of thy heart, and to serve Ale with fervent 
willingness. 

II. My son, oftentimes the fire burneth, but the flame 
ascendeth not up without smoke. 

So likewise the desires of some men burn towards 
Heavenly things, and yet they are not free from tempta- 
tion of carnal affection. 

And therefore it is not altogether purely for the 
honour of God, that they make such earnest requests 
to Him. 

Such also oftentimes are thy desires, which thou hast 
pretended to be so serious and earnest. 

For those desires are not pure and perfect, which are 
tinctured with the love of thine own special interest 
and advantage. 

HI. Ask not for that which is delightful and profit- 
able to thee, but for that which is acceptable to Me, 
and tends to My honour ; for if thou judgest aright, 
thou oughtest to prefer and follow My appointment, 
rather than thine own desire, or any thing whatever 
that is to be desired. 

I know thy desire, and have oftentimes heard thy 
groanings. 

Already thou longest to be in the glorious liberty of 
the sons of God ; already dost thou delight in the ever- 
lasting habitation, thy Heavenly home full of joy ; but 
that hour is not yet come ; still there remaineth another 
time, and that a time of war,' a time of labour and of 
trial. 

Tliou desirest to be filled with the Chiefest Good, 
but thou canst not attain it just yet. 
Job vii. [1], 



160 OF THE IMITATION OF CHRIST 

I AM He ; wait thou for IVIe (saith the Lord) until the 
Kingdom of God shall come. 

IV. Thou art still to be tried upon earth, and to be 
exercised in many things. 

Comfort shall be sometimes given thee, but the 
abundant fulness thereof shall not be granted. 

Take courage therefore, and be valiant ^ as well in 
doing as in suffering things contrary to nature. 

It is thy duty to put on the new Man,^ and to be 
changed into another man. 

It is thy duty oftentimes to do what thou wouldst 
not ; thy duty too to leave undone what thou wouldst 
do. 

That which pleaseth others, shall go well forward ; 
that which pleaseth thee, shall not speed. 

That which others say, shall be heard ; what thou 
sayest, shall be accounted nothing : Others shall ask 
and shall receive ; thou shalt ask but shalt not obtain. 

V. Others shall be great in the praise of men, but 
about thee there shall be nothing said. 

To others this or that shall be committed, but thou 
shalt be accounted of no use. 

At this nature will sometimes be troubled, and it is 
a great thing if thou bear it with silence. 

In these and many such like [things], the faithful 
servant of the Lord is wont to be tried, how far he can 
deny and break himself in all things. 

There is scarcely any thing wherein thou hast such 
need to die to thyself, as in seeing and suffering those 
things that are adverse to thy will ; especially when 
that is commanded to be done, which seemeth unto 
thee inconvenient, or useless. 

And because thou being under authority darest not 
resist the higher power, therefore it seems hard to thee 
to walk at another's beck, and to give up all thine own 
opinion. 

VI. But consider. My son, the fruit of these labours, 
the end near at hand, and the reward exceeding great ; 

Joshua 1. [7]. Eph. iv. [24]. 



THE FAITHFUL CHRISTIAN'S REWARD 161 

and thou wilt not grudge to bear them, rather thou 
wilt have the strongest comfort of thy patience. 

For instead of that little of thy will, which now thou 
so readily forsakest, thou shalt always have thy will in 
Heaven. 

There surely thou shalt find all that thou mayest 
wish, all that thou shalt be able to desire. 

There thou shalt have within thy reach all good, 
without fear of losing it. 

There shall thy will be ever one with Me ; it shall 
not covet any outward or private thing. 

There none shall withstand thee, no man shall com- 
plain of thee, no man hinder thee, nothing come in 
thy way ; but all things thou canst desire shall be there 
together present, and refresh thy whole affection, and 
fill it up to the brim. 

Tliere I will give thee glory for the reproach which 
here thou sufferedst, the garment of praise for heavi- 
ness, for the lowest place a kingly throne for ever. 

There shall the fruit of obedience appear, the labour 
of repentance shall rejoice, and humble subjection shall 
be gloriously crowned. 

VII. At present then bend thyself humbly under all, 
and care not who said this or commanded it. 

But take especial care, that whether thy superior, or 
thy inferior, or thine equal, require any thing of thee, 
or even insinuate their desire, thou take it all in good 
part, and with a sincere will endeavour to fulfil it. 

Let one seek this, another that ; let this man glory 
in this, the other in that, and be praised a thousand 
thousand times ; but do thou rejoice neither in this, nor 
in that, but in the contempt of thyself, and in the good 
pleasure and honour of Me alone. 

This is what thou art to wish, that whether it be 
by life or by death God may be always glorified in 
thee. 



162 OF THE IMITATION OF CHRIST 



CHAPTER L 

HOW A DESOLATE PERSON OUGHT TO OFFER HIMSELF 
INTO THE HANDS OF GOD 

O Lord God, Holy Fatlier, be Tliou blessed both now 
and for evermore, Ijecause as Thou wilt, so is it done, 
and what Thou doest is good. 

Let Tliy servant rejoice in Tliee, not in himself nor 
ill any thing else ; for Thou alone art tlie true gladness, 
Thou art my hope and my crown. Thou art my joy and 
my honour, O Lord . 

What hath Thy servant, but what he hath received 
from Thee,^ even without any merit of his ? 

Tliine are all things, both what Thou hast given, and 
what Thou hast made. 

I am poor, and in troubles, from my youth ; ^ and 
my soul is sorrowful sometimes even unto tears ; some- 
times also my spirit is of itself disquieted, by reason of 
impending sufferings. 

II. I long after the joy of Peace, the peace of Tliy 
children I earnestly crave, who are fed by lliee in the 
light of Thy comfort. 

If Thou give peace, if Tliou pour into me holy joy, 
tlie soul of Thy servant sliall be full of melody, and 
shall become devout in Thy praise. 

But if Thou withdraw 'J'hyself, (as too many times 
Thou dost,) he will not be able to run the way of 'lliy 
commandments ; but rather he will bow his knees, and 
smite his breast, because it is not noAv with him as 
it was in times past, when Thy candle shined upon 
his head, and under the shadow of Thy wings he 
was protected from the temptations which assaulted 
him. 

III. O righteous Father, and ever to be praised, the 
hour is come that Thy servant is to be proved. 

> 1 Cor. iv, [7], * Psalm Ixxxviii. [15]. 



OF COMFORT FOR THE DESOLATE 163 

O beloved Father^ meet and right it is that in this 
hour Thy servant should suflfer something for Thy 
sake. 

Father, evermore to be honoured, the hour is come, 
which from all eternity Thou didst foreknow should 
come ; that for a short time Thy servant should out- 
wardly be oppressed, but inwardly should ever live with 
Thee. 

'iliat he should be for a little while held despised, and 
humbled, and in the siglit of men should fail, and be 
wasted witli suflFerings and languors ; that he may rise 
again with Thee in the morning dawn of the new Light, 
and be glorified in Heaven. 

Holy Fatlier, Thou hast so appointed it, and so wilt 
have it ; and that is fulfilled which Thyself hast com- 
manded. 

IV. For this is a favour to Thy friend, for Thy love 
to suffer and be afflicted in the world ; how pften soever, 
and by whom soever, and in what way soever Thou 
permittest it to befall him. 

A\'ithout Thy counsel and providence, and without 
cause, nothing cometh to pass in the earth. 

It is good for me. Lord, that Thou hast humbled me,^ 
that I may learn Thy righteous judgments, and may 
cast away all haughtiness of heart, and all presumptu- 
ousness. 

It is profitable for me, that shame hath covered my 
face, that I may seek to Thee for consolation rather 
than to men. 

1 have learned also hereby to dread Thy unsearchable 
judgments, who afflictest "the just with the wicked, 
tliough not without equity and justice. 

Y. I give Thee thanks, for that lliou hast not spared 
my sins, but hast worn me down with bitter stripes, 
inflicting sorrows and sending anxieties upon me within 
and without. 

There is none else under Heaven who can comfort 
me, but Thou only, O Lord my God, the Heavenly 

' Psalm cxix. [71], 



164 OF THE IMITATION OF CHRIST 

Physician of souls, who strikest and healest, who 
bringest down to hell and bringest back again. ^ 

Thy discipline over me, and Thy very rod itself shall 
instruct me. 

VI. Behold, O beloved Father, I am in Thy hands, I 
bow myself under the rod of Thy correction. 

Smite my back and my neck, that so I may bend my 
crookedness to ITiy will: 

Make me a dutiful and humble disciple, (as Thou art 
wont to be kind,) that I may be ever ready to go, if 
Thou dost but beckon to me. 

Unto Thee I commend myself and all that is mine, 
to be corrected : better it is to be punished here, than 
hereafter. 

Thou knowest all things generally, and also each 
separately, and there is nothing in man's conscience 
which can be hidden from Thee. 

Before things are done. Thou knowest that they will 
come to pass ; and Thou hast no need that any should 
teach or admonish Thee of what is going on here on 
the earth. 

Tliou knowest what is expedient for my spiritual p:o- 
gress, and how greatly tribulation serves to scour off 
the rust of sins. 

Do with me according to Thy desired good pleasure, 
and disdain me not for my sinful life, known to none so 
thoroughly and clearly as to Thee alone. 

VII. Grant me, O Lord, to know that which is worth 
knowing, to love that which is worth loving, to praise 
that which pleaseth Thee most, to esteem that highly 
which to Thee is precious, to abhor that which in Thy 
s.'ght is filthy and unclean. 

Suffer me not to judge according to the sight of the 
outward eyes, nor to give sentence according to the 
hearing of the ears of ignorant men ; but with a true 
judgment to discern between things visible and spiritual, 
and above all to be ever searching after tke good 
pleasure of Thy will. 

Tcb. xiii. [2] ; Psalm xviii. [16]. 



COMFORT IN HUMBLE EMPLOYMENTS 165 

VIIL The minds of men are often deceived in their 
judgments ; the lovers of the world too are deceived in 
loving only things visible. 

VVliat is a man ever the better, for being by man 
esteemed great ? 

The deceitful in flattering the deceitful, the vain man 
in extolling the vain, the blind in commending iher 
blind, the weak in magnifying the weak, deceiveth 
him ; and in truth doth rather put him to shame, while 
he so vainly praiseth him, 

' For what every one is in Thy sight, that is he, and 
no more,' saith humble St. Francis, 



CHAPTER LI 

THAT A MAN OUGHT TO EMPLOY HIMSELF IN WORKS OF 
HUMILITY, WHEN STRENGTH IS WANTING FOR HIGHER 
EMPLOYMENTS 

My son, thou art not able always to continue in the 
more fervent desire of all that is virtuous, nor to per- 
sist in the higher pitch of contemplation ; but thou 
must needs sometimes by reason of original corruption 
descend to inferior things, and bear the burden of this 
corruptible life, though against thy will, and with 
wearisomeness. 

As long as thou carriest a mortal body, thou shalt 
feel weariness and heaviness of heart. 

Thou oughtest therefore in the flesh oftentimes to 
bewail the burden of the flesh ; for that thou canst not 
employ thyself unceasingly in spiritual studies and 
divine contemplation. 

II. Then it is expedient for thee to flee to humble 
and exterior works, and to refresh thyself with good 
actions ; to expect with a firm confidence My coming 
and Heavenly visitation ; to bear patiently thy banish- 
ment and the dryness of thy mind, till I shall again 
visit thee, and set thee free from all anxieties. 



166 OF THE IMITATION OF CHRIST 

For I will cause thee to forget thy painful toils, and 
to enjoy thorough inward quietness. 

I will spread open before thee the pleasant fields of 
the Scriptures, that with an enlarged heart thou mayest 
begin to run the way of My commandments. 

And thou shalt say, ' The sufferings of this present 
lime are not worthy to be compared with the future 
glory, that shall be revealed in us.' * 



CHAPTER LH 

THAT A MAN OUGHT NOT TO ACCOUNT HIMSELF AS WORTHV 
OF COMFORT, BUT KATHER AS DESERVING OF CHAS- 
TISE3IENT 

LoRi>, I am not worthy of Thy consolation, nor of 
any spiritual visitations ; and therefore Thou dealest 
justly with me, when Thou leavest me poor and desolate. 

For though I could shed a sea of tears, still I should 
not be worthy of Thy consolation. 

I am not then worthy of any thing but to be scourged 
and punished ; because grievously and often I have 
offended Thee, and in many things have greatly sinned. 

Wherefore, in the judgment of truth and reason, I 
am not worthy even of the least comfort. 

But Thou, O gracious and merciful God, who wiliest 
not that Thy works should perish, to shew the riches 
of Thy goodness upon the vessels of mercy, vouchsafest 
even beyond all his desert to comfort Thy servant above 
the manner of men. 

For Thy consolations are not like to the discourses 
of men. 

II. What have 1 done, O Lord, that thou shouldest 
bestow any heavenly comfort upon me.'' 

I remember not that I have done any good, but that 

1 have been always prone to sin, and slow to amend- 
ment. 

I Rom. viii. [18]. 



THE COMFORT OF A CONTRITE HEART 167 

This is true, and I cannot deny it. If I should say 
otherwise, Thou wouldest stand against me ; * and there . 
woukl be none to defend me. 

What have I deserved for my sins, but hell and ever- 
lasting tire .'' 

I confess in very truth that I am worthy of all scorn 
and contempt, nor is it fit that I should be remembered 
amongst Thy devout servants. 

And although I be unwilling to hear this, yet not- 
withstanding, I will for the Truth's sake lay open my 
sins, even against myself, that so the more readily 1 
may be accounted worthy to obtain Thy mercy. 

III. What shall I say, in that I am guilty, and full 
of all confusion ? 

My mouth can utter nothing but this word only, ' I 
have sinned, O Lord ! I have sinned ; ^ have mercy on 
me, pardon me ! ' 

Suffer me a little, that I may bewail my griefs, before 
I go into the land of darkness, a land covered with the 
shadow of death. ^ 

\\^hat dost Thou so much require of a guilty and 
miserable sinner, as tliat he be contrite, and that he 
humble himself for his otfences .'' 

Of true contrition and humbling of the heart, ariseth 
hope of forgiveness ; the troubled conscience is recon- 
ciled ; the grace which was lost, is recovered ; man is 
preserved from the wrath to come ; and God and the 
penitent soul meet together with a holy kiss. 

IV. Humble contrition for sins is an acceptable sacri- 
fice unto Tliee, O Lord/ giving forth a savour far 
sweeter in Thy sight than the perfume of frankin- 
cense. 

This is also the pleasant ointment,^ which Thou 
wouldest sliould be poured upon Thy sacred feet ; 
for a contrite and humble heart Thou never hast 
despised.^ 

Here is the place of refuge from the angry face of 

' Job ix. [2, 3]. ' Psalm h. > Job x. [211. 

< Psalm li. [17]. Luke vii. [38], Psalm li. [17]. 



168 OF THE IMITATION OF CHRIST 

the Enemy ; here is amended and washed away what- 
ever defilement and pollution hath been any where else 
contracted. 



CHAPTER LIII 

THAT THE GRACE OF GOD DOTH NOT JOIN ITSELF WITH 
THOSE WHO KELISH EARTHLY THINGS 

IVIy son, My grace is precious, it suffereth not itself to 
be mingled with external things, nor with earthly 
consolations. 

Thou oughtest therefore to cast away the hin- 
drances of Grace, if thou desire to receive the infusion 
thereof. 

Look out for a secret place for thyself, love to dwell 
alone with thyself, desire the conversation of none ; 
but rather pour out devout prayer unto God, that thou 
mayest keep thy mind in compunction, and thy con- 
science pure. 

Esteem thou the whole world as nothing ; prefer 
attendance upon God before all outward things. 

For thou wilt not be able to attend upon Me, and at 
the same time to take delight in things transitory. 

It is meet that thou remove thyself far away from 
acquaintance and dear friends,' and keep thy mind void 
of all temporal comfort. 

So the blessed Apostle Peter beseecheth, that the 
faithful of Christ would keep themselves in this world 
as strangers and pilgrims. ^ 

II. O how great a confidence shall we have at the 
hour of death, whom no aiFection to any thing detaineth 
in the world. 

But what it is to have a heart so alienated from all 
things, the sickly mind doth not as yet comprehend ; 

Matt. xix. [29], 1 Pet. ii. [11}. 



DEADNESS TO EARTHLY AFFECTIONS 169 

nor doth the carnal man know the liberty of the 
spiritual man. 

Notwithstanding if he would be truly spiritual, he 
ought to renounce as well those who are far off, as those 
who are near unto him, and to beware of no man more 
than of himself. 

If thou perfectly overcome thyself, thou shalt very 
easily bring all else under the yoke. 

The perfect victory is, to triumph over ourselves. 

For he that keepeth himself subject, in such sort that 
his sensual affections be obedient to reason, and his 
reason in all things obedient to Me ; that person is 
truly conqueror of himself, and lord of the world. 

III. If thou desire to mount unto this height, thou 
must set out courageously, and lay the axe to the root, 
that thou mayest pluck up and destroy the hidden 
inordinate inclination to self, and all love of private 
and earthly good. 

By this vicious propensity (namely, man's too inordi- 
nate love of self) every thing almost is upheld, which 
ought thoroughly to be overcome. If this evil be once 
vanquished and subdued, there will presently ensue 
great peace and tranquillity. 

But because few labour to be perfectly dead to them- 
selves, or fully go forth from themselves, therefore in 
themselves they remain entangled, nor can be lifted up 
in spirit above themselves. 

But he that desireth to walk freely with Me, it is 
necessary that he mortify all his corrupt and inordinate 
affections, and that he should not earnestly cleave to 
any creature with particular love. 



170 OF THE IMITATION OF CHRIST 
CHAFFER LIV 

OF THE DIFFERENT MOTIONS OP NATURE AND GRACE 

My son, mark diligently the motions of Nature and of 
Grace ; for in a very contrary and subtle manner do 
they move, and can hardly be distinguished but by him 
that is spiritually and inwardly enlightened. 

All men indeed desire that which is good, and pre- 
tend somewhat good in their words and deeds ; and 
therefore under the show of good, many are deceived. 

Nature is crafty, and seduceth many, ensnareth and 
deceiveth them, and hath always self for her end and 
object : 

But Grace walkcth in simplicity, abstaineth from all 
shoiv of evil, sheltereth not herself under deceits, doeth 
all things purely for God's sake, in whom also she 
finally resteth. 

II. Nature is reluctant and loth to die, or to be kept 
down, or to be overcome, or to be in subjection, or 
readily to be subdued : 

But Grace studieth self-mortification, resisteth sensu- 
ality, seeketh to be in subjection, longetli to be defeated, 
hath no wisli to use her own liberty ; she loves to be 
kept under discipline, and desires not to rule over any, 
but always to live, remain, and be under God, and for 
God's sake is ready humbly to bow down to every ordi- 
nance of man. 

Nature striveth for her own advantage, and con- 
sidereth what profit she may reap by another : 

Grace considereth not what is profitable and com- 
modious unto herself, but rather what may be for the 
good of many. 

Nature willingly receiveth honour and reverence : 

But Grace faithfully attributeth all honour and glory 
unto God. 

III. Nature feareth shame and contempt : 



OF NATURE AND GRACE 171 

But Grace rejoiceth to suffer reproach for the Name 
of Jesus. 

Nature loveth leisure and bodily rest : 

Grace cannot be unemployed^ but cheerfully em- 
braceth labour. 

Nature seeketh to have things that are curious and 
beautifulj and abhorreth those which are cheap and 
coarse : 

But Grace delighteth in what is plain and humble, 
despiseth not rough things, nor refuseth to wear that 
which is old and patched. 

Nature respecteth temporal things, rejoiceth at 
earthly gains, sorroweth for loss, is irritated by every 
little injurious word : 

But Grace looks to things eternal, cleaves not to 
things temporal, is not disturbed at losses, nor soured 
with hard words ; because she hatli placed her treasure 
and joy in Heaven, where nothing perisheth. 

IV. Nature is covetous, doth more willingly receive 
than give, and loveth to have things private and her 
own : 

But Grace is kind-hearted and communicative, 
shunneth private interest, is content with a little, 
judgeth that it is more blessed to give than to receive. 

Nature inclines a man to the creatures, to his 
own flesh, to vanities, and to vagaries hither and 
thither : 

But Grace draweth unto God and to every virtue, 
renounceth creatures, avoideth the world, hateth the 
desires of the flesh, restraineth wanderings abroad-, 
blush eth to be seen in public. 

Nature is willing to have some outward solace, 
wherein she may be sensibly delighted : 

But Grace seeketh consolation in God alone, and to 
have delight in the highest Good above all visible 
things. 

V. Nature manages evei-y tiling for her own gain 
and profit, she cannot bear to do any thing gratis, but 
for every kindness she hopes to obtain either what is 
equal, or what is better, or at least praise or favour; 



172 OF THE IMITATION OF CHRIST 

and is very earnest to have her works and gifts and 
words much valued : 

But Grace seeketh no temporal thing, nor desireth 
any other reward than God alone, nor asketh more of 
temporal necessaries, than what may serve her for the 
obtaining of things eternal. 

VI. Nature rejoiceth to have many friends and kins- 
folk, slie glorieth of noble place and noble birth, smiles 
on the powerful, fawns upon the rich, applauds those 
who are like herself : 

But Grace loves even her enemies, and is not puffed 
up with multitude of friends ; nor thinks aught of high 
birth, unless it be joined with more exalted virtue : 

She favoureth the poor rather than the rich, sym- 
pathiseth more with the innocent than with the powerful, 
rejoiceth with the true man, not with the deceitful : 

She is ever exhorting good men to strive for the best 
gifts ; and by all virtue to become like to the Son of 
God. 

Nature quickly complaineth of want and of trouble : 

Grace endureth need with firmness and constancy. 

VII. Nature referreth all things to herself, striveth 
and argueth for herself : 

But Grace bringeth back all to God, from whence 
originally they proceed ; she ascribeth no good to 
herself, nor doth she arrogantly presume ; she con- 
tendeth not, nor preferreth her own opinion before 
others ; but in every matter of sense and understanding 
submitteth herself unto the Eternal wisdom and the 
Divine judgment. 

Nature is eager to know secrets, and to hear news ; 
she likes to appear abroad, and to make proof of many 
tilings by her own senses ; she desires to be acknow- 
ledged, and do things for which she may be praised 
and admired : 

But Grace cares not to hear news, nor to understand 
curious matters, (because all this takes its rise from the 
old corruption of man,) seeing that upon earth there 
is nothing new, nothing durable. 

Grace teacheth therefore to restrain the senses, to 



OF VICTORY OF GRACE OVER NATURE 173 

shun vain complacency and ostentation, humbly to hide 
those tilings that are worthy of admiration and praise, 
and from every matter and in every knowledge to seek 
profitable fruit, and the praise and honour of God. 

She will not have herself nor hers publicly praised, 
but desireth that God should be blessed in His gifts, 
who of mere love bestoweth all things. 

VI 1 1. This Grace is a supernatural light, and a certain 
special gift of God, and the proper mark of the Elect, 
and pledge of everlasting salvation ; it raiseth up a man 
from earthly things to love the things of Heaven, and 
from being carnal maketh him a spiritual man. 

The more therefore Nature is depressed and subdued, 
so much the greater Grace is infused, and every day by 
new visitations the inward man becomes reformed 
according to the image of God. 



CHAPTER LV 

OF THE CORRUPTION OF NATURE, AND EFFICACY 
OF DIVINE GRACE 

O Lord my God, who hast created me after Thine 
own image and likeness, ' grant me this Grace, which 
'ITiou hast shewed to be so great and so necessary to 
salvation ; that I may overcome my most evil nature, 
which draweth me to sin and to perdition. 

For I feel in my flesh the law of sin contradicting the 
law of my mind,^ and leading me captive to the obeying 
of sensuality in many things ; neither can I resist the 
passions thereof, unless Thy most holy Grace fervently 
infused into my heart do assist me. 

II. lliere is need of Thy Grace, O Lord, and of great 
degrees thereof, that Nature may be overcome, which 
is ever prone to evil from her youth. ^ 

> Gen. i. [26], Rom. vii. [23]. Gen. yiii. [21]. 



174 OF THE IMITATION OF CHRIST 

For through Adam the first man, Nature being fallen 
and corrupted by sin, the penalty of this stain hath 
descended upon all mankind, in such sort, that ' Nature ' 
itself, which by Thee was created good and upright, 
is now taken for the sin and infirmity of corrupted 
nature ; because the inclination thereof left unto itself 
draweth to evil and to inferior things. 

For tlie small power which remaineth is as it were 
a spark lying hid in the aslies. 

Tliis is Natural Reason itself, encompassed about with 
great darkness, yet still retaining power to discern the 
difference between good and evil, true and false, 
although it be unable to fulfil all that it approveth, 
and enjoyeth no longer the full light of the Truth, nor 
soundness of its own affections. 

III. Hence it is, O my God, that I delight in Thj 
law after the inward man,^ knowing Thy commandment 
to be good, just and holy, reproving also all evil and 
sin, as things to be avoided. 

But with the flesh I serve the law of sin, whilst I obey 
sensuality rather than reason. 

Hence it is, that to will what is good is present with 
me, but how to perform it I find not. 

Hence it is that I often purpose many good things, 
but because Grace is wanting to help my infirmity, upon 
a light resistance I start back and faint. 

Hence it comes to pass that I know the way of per- 
fection, and see clearly enough how 1 ought to act ; 
but being pressed down with the weight of mine own 
corruption, I rise not to wliat is more perfect. 

IV. O Lord, how entirely needful is Thy Grace for 
me, to begin any thing good, to proceed with it, and to 
accomplish it. 

For without it I can do nothing,^ but in Thee I can 
do all things, when Thy Grace doth strengthen me. 

O Grace truly celestial ! without which our most 
worthy actions are nothing, nor are any gifts of nature 
to be esteemed. 

Rom. vii. [22], John xv. [5]. 



OF VICTORY OF GRACE OVER NATURE 175 

Neither arts or riclies^ beauty or strength, wit or 
eloquence, are of any value before Thee, without Thy 
Grace, O Lord. 

For gifts of nature are common to good and bad, but 
the peculiar gift of the elect is Grace and Love ; and 
they that bear this honourable mark, are accounted 
worthy of everlasting life. 

So eminent is this Grace that neither the gift of 
prophecy, nor the vvorlcing of miracles, nor any 
speculation (how high soever) is of any esteem with- 
out it. 

No, not even faith or hope, or any other virtues, 
are unto Thee acceptable without Charity and Grace.' 

\'. O most blessed grace, that makest the poor in 
spirit rich in virtues, and renderest him who is rich in 
many goods humble in heart ! 

Come Tliou down unto me, come and replenish me 
early with Thy comfort, lest my soul faint for weariness 
and dryness of mind. 

1 beseech Thee, O Lord, tliat 1 may find Grace 
in Thy sight ; for ITiy Grace is sufficient for me, 
though other things that Nature longeth for be not 
obtained. 

Although I be tempted and vexed with many tribula- 
tions, yet I will fear no evils,^ so long as Thy Grace is 
with me. 

This alone and by itself is my strength ; this alone 
giveth advice and help. 

This is stronger than all enemies, and wiser than aU 
the wise. 

yi. Thy Grace is the mistress of truth, the teacher 
of discipline, the light of the heart, the solace in 
affliction, the driver away of sorrow, the expeller of 
fear, the nurse of devotion, the source and fountain 
of tears. 

Without this, what am I but a withered piece of 
wood, and an unprofitable branch only meet to be cast 
away. 

I 1 Cor. xiii, [13]. * Paalm xxiii. [4]. 



176 OF THE IMITATION OF CHRIST 

Let Thy grace therefore, O Loi-d, always prevent 
and follow me, and make me to be continually given 
to good works, through Thy Son Jesus Christ. Amen. 



CHAPTER LVI 

THAT WE OUGHT TO DENY OURSELVES AND IMITATE 
CHHIST BY THE CROSS 

My son, the more thou canst go out of thyself, so 
much the more wilt thou be able to enter into Me. 

As to be void of all desire of external things, produceth 
inward peace, so the forsaking of thyself inwardly, 
joineth thee unto God. 

I wish thee to learn perfect resignation of thyself to 
My will, without contradiction or complaint. " 

Follow thou Me : ' I am the Way, the Truth, and 
the Life.'* Without the Way, there is no going; 
without the Truth, there is no knowing ; without the 
Life, there is no living. I am the ^V"ay, which thou 
oughtest to follow ; the Truth, which thou oughtest to 
trust ; the Life, which thou oughtest to hope for. 

I AM the inviolable AVay, the infallible Truth, the 
endless Life. 

I AM the straightest Way, the supreme Truth, the 
true, the blessed, the uncreated Life. 

If thou remain in JNIy way, thou shalt know the 
Truth, and the Truth shall make thee free, and thou 
shalt lay hold on eternal Life. 

11. If thou wilt enter into life, keep the command- 
ments.^ 

If thou wilt know the truth, believe Me. 

If thou wilt be perfect, sell all.^ 

If thou wilt be My disciple, deny thyself utterly.* 

1 John xiv. [6]. Matt. xix. [17], 

Matt. xix. [21], Luke ix. [23]. 



CHRIST THE WAY, THE TRUTH, THE LIFE 177 

If thou wilt possess a blessed life, despise this life 
present. 

If thou wilt be exalted in Heaven, humble thyself in 
this world. ^ 

If thou wilt reign with Me, bear the Cross with 
Me. 2 

For only the servants of the Cross do find the way 
of blessedness and of true light. 

III. O Lord Jesus, forasmuch as Thy life was strict 
and despised by the world, grant me grace to imitate 
Thee, though with the world's contempt. 

For the servant is not greater than his Lord/ nor 
the disciple above his Master. 

Let Tliy servant be exercised in Thy life, for therein 
my salvation and true holiness doth consist. 

AVhatsoever I read or hear besides it, doth not give 
me full refreshment or delight. 

IV. My son, inasmuch as thou knowest and hast 
read all these things, happy shalt thou be, if thou do 
them. 

' He that hath My commandments and keepeth them, 
he it is that loveth Me ; and I will love him, and will 
manifest Myself unto him,'* and will make him sit 
together with Me in My Father's kingdom. 

Lord Jesu, as Thou hast said and promised, so 
truly let it come to pass, and grant that I may not be 
wholly undeserving of this favour. 

1 have received the Cross, I have received it from 
Thy hand ; I will bear it, and bear it even unto death, 
as Thou hast laid it upon me. 

Truly the life of a good Christian is a Cross, yet it is 
also a guide to Paradise, 

We have now begun, it is not lawful to go back, 
neither is it fit to leave that which we have under- 
taken. 

> John xii. [25]. Luke xiv. [271. 

Matt. X. [24] ; Luke vi. [40], * John xiv. [21 J. 

N 



178 OF THE IMITATION 0?^ CHRIST 

V. Let us then take courage, brethren, let us go 
forward together, Jksus will be with us. 

For the sake of Jesus we have undertaken this 
Cross ; for the sake of Jesus let us persevere in the 
Cross. 

He will be our Helper, who is also our Guide and 
Forerunner. 

Behold, our King entereth in before us, and He will 
fight for us. 

Let us follow manfully, let no man fear any terrors ; 
let^ us be prepared to die valiantly in battle, nor 
bring such a disgrace on our glory as to flee from the 
Cross. 



CHAPTER LVII 

THAT A MAN SHOULB NOT BE TOO SIUCH DEJECTED, EVEN 
WHEN HE FALLETH INTO S03IE DEFECTS 

My son, patience and humility in adversities are more 
pleasing to Me, than much comfort and devotion when 
things go well. 

Why art thou so grieved for every little matter 
spoken against thee ? 

Although it had been much more, thou oughtest not 
to have been moved. 

But now let it pass;, it is not the first that hath 
happened, nor is it any thing new ; neither shall it be 
the last, if thou live long. 

Thou art courageous enough, so long as nothing 
adverse befalleth thee. 

Thou canst give good counsel also, and canst 
strengthen others with thy words ; but when any tribu- 
lation suddenly comes to thy door, thou failest in 
counsel and in strength. 

Observe then thy great frailty, of which thou too 
often hast experience in small occurrences. 



OF CALMNESS UNDER PECULIAR TRIALS 179 

It is notwithstanding intended for thy good^ when 
these and such like trials happen to thee. 

II. Put it out of thy heart the best thou canst, and 
if tribulation have touched thee, yet let it not cast thee 
down, nor long perplex thee. 

Bear it at least patiently, if thou canst not joy- 
fully. 

Although thou be unwilling to hear it, and con- 
ceivest indignation thereat, yet restrain thyself, and 
suffer no inordinate word to pass out of thy mouth, 
whereby Christ's little ones may be offended. 

Tlie storm which is now raised shall quickly be 
appeased, and inward grief shall be sweetened by the 
return of Grace. 

I yet live, saith the Lord, and am ready to help 
thee,^ and to give thee more than ordinary consolation, 
if thou put thy trust in Me, and call dfevoutly upon 
Me. 

III. Be more patient of soul, and gird thyself to 
greater endurance. 

All is not lost, althc agh thou do feel thyself very 
often afflicted or grievously tempted. 

lliou art a man, and not God ; thou art flesli, not an 
Angel. 

How canst thou look to continue alway in the same 
state of virtue, when an Angel in Heaven hath fallen, 
as also the first man in Paradise.''^ 

I am He who lift up the mourners to safety and 
soundness, and those that know their own weakness I 
advance to My own Divine [Nature]. 

IV. O Lord, blessed be Tliy ^Vord, more sweet unto 
my mouth than honey and the honey-comb.^ 

'\Vhat should I do in these so great tribulations and 
straits, unless Thou didst comfort me with 'J'hy holy 
discourses ? 

What matter is it, how much or what 1 suffer, so as 
I may at length attain to the port of salvation .'' 

' iBaiah xlix, * Gen. iii. * Psalm cxix. [103], 



180 OF THE IMITATION OF CHRIST 

Grant me a good end, grant me a happy passage out 
of this world. 

Be mindful of me, O my God, and direct me in the 
right way of Thy kingdom. Amen. 



CHAPTER LVIII 

THAT HIGH MATTERS AND GOd's SECRET JUDGMENTS ARE 
NOT TO BE NARROWLY ENQUIRED INTO 

My son, beware thou dispute not of liigh matters, nor 
of the secret judgments of God, why this man is so left, 
and that man taken into sucli great favour ; wliy also 
one is so grievously afflicted, and another so eminently 
exalted. 

These things are beyond all reach of man's faculties, 
neither is it in the power of any reason or disputation 
to search out the judgments of God. 

When therefore the Enemy suggesteth these things 
unto thee, or some curious people raise the question, 
let thy answer be that of the Prophet, 'Thou art just, 
O Lord, and Thy judgment is right.' ^ 

And again, 'The judgments of the Lord are true and 
righteous altogether.' ^ 

My judgments are to be feared, not to be discussed ; 
for they are such as cannot be comprehended by the 
understanding of man. 

II. In like manner I advise thee not to enquire, nor 
dispute of the merits of holy men as to which of them 
is holier than the other, or which shall be the greater in 
the kingdom of Heaven. 

Such matters oftentimes breed unprofitable strifes 
and contentions,^ they also nourish pride and vain- 
glory ; whence arise envies and dissensions, whilst one 

Psalm cxix. [137]. ' Psalm xix. [9]. 

2 Tim. ii. [14], 



VAIN CURIOSITY IN HIGH MATTERS 181 

proudly endeavours to put forward oue saint^ and the 
other another. 

To wish to know and search out such things answers 
no good end, rather is displeasing to the righteous 
Souls ; for I am not the God of dissension, but of 
peace ; which peace consisteth rather in true humility, 
than in self-exaltation. 

III. Some are carried with zeal of affection towards 
these Saints or those ; nevertheless this is rather human 
love than divine. 

I am He who made all the Saints ; I gave them 
Grace ; I obtain for them Glory. 

I know what every one hath deserved ; I have pre- 
vented them with the blessings of My goodness. 

I foreknew My beloved ones before the beginning of 
the world. 

I chose them out of the world, they chose not Me 
first. 1 

I called them by grace, I drew them by mercy, I led 
them safe through sundry temptations. 

I poured into them glorious consolations, I gave them 
perseverance, I crowned their patience. 

IV. I acknowledge both the first and the last ; I 
embrace all with love inestimable. 

I am to be praised in all My Saints ; I am to be 
blessed above all things, and to be honoured in every 
one, whom I have thus gloriously exalted and predesti- 
nated, without any precedent merits of their own. 

He therefore that contemneth one of the least of 
Mine,^ honoureth not the greatest ; for that I made 
both the small and the great. ^ 

And he that disparageth any of the Saints, dis- 
parageth Me also, and all other in the Kingdom of 
Heaven. 

These all are one through the bond of charity ; their 
thought is the same, their will is the same, and in love 
they are all united one to anotlier. 

V. But still, (which is a far higher consideration,) 

* John XV. [16]. * James ii. [1 5]. Wisdom vi. [7]- 



182 OF THE IMITATION OF CHRIST 

they love Me more thau they do themselves or any 
merits of their owu. 

For being ravished above self and self-love, they are 
wholly carried out to love Me, in whom also they rest 
with entire fruition. 

Nothing can turn them back, nothing can press them 
down ; for being full of the eternal Truth, they burn 
with the lire of unquenchable charity. 

Let therefore carnal and natural men who can love 
nothing but their own selfish joys, forbear to dispute 
of the state of God's Saints. Sucli men add and take 
away according to their own fancies, not as it pleaseth 
the eternal Truth. 

VI. Many are ignorant, especially those who being 
but slenderly enlightened, can seldom love any with a 
perfect spiritual love. 

They are as yet much drawn by natural affection and 
human friendship to this man or to tliat ; and according 
to the experience they have of themselves in their 
earthly affections, so do they frame imaginations of 
things heavenly. 

But there is an incomparable distance between the 
things which the imperfect imagine in their conceits, 
and those which the illuminated are enabled to behold, 
through revelation from above. 

VII. Beware, therefore. My son, that thou handle 
not with vain curiosity things which exceed thy 
knowledge ; ^ but rather let this be thy great business 
and endeavour, to attain if it be the meanest place in 
the kingdom of God. 

Even if any man should know who exceeds another 
in sanctity, or who is accounted the greatest in the 
kingdom of Heaven ; what would this wisdom profit 
him, unless he should humble himself the more in My 
sight, and then should rise up to give the greater 
praise to My Name, in proportion to this his know- 
ledge ? 

Far more acceptable to God is he that thinketh of 

Ecclus. iii. [21], 



VAIN CURIOSITY IN HIGH MATTERS 183 

the greatness of his own sins, and the smallness of his 
\irtues, and how far he is from the perfection Of Saints, 
than lie who disputeth of their greatness or littleness. 

VIII. They are well yea right well contented, if men 
would but content themselves, and refrain from their 
vain discourses. 

They glory not of their own merits, inasmuch as 
they ascribe no goodness to themselves, but attribute 
all to Me, who of My infinite love have given them all 
things. 

They are filled with so great love of the Divinity, and 
with such an oversowing joy, that there is no glory nor 
happiness that is or can be wanting unto them. 

All the Saints, the higher they are in glory, so much 
the more humble are they in themselves, and the nearer 
and dearer unto Me. 

And therefore thou hast it written, ' That they did 
cast their crowns before God, and fell down on their 
faces before the Lamb, and adored Him that liveth for 
ever and ever,' ' 

IX. Many enquire, who is the greatest in the king- 
dom of God, who know not whether they shall ever be 
numbered among the least. 

It is a great thing to be even the least in Heaven, 
where all are great ; for they all shall be called, and 
shall be, the Sons of God. 

' The least shall become a thousand,' ^ and ' the 
sinner of an hundred years shall die.^ ^ 

For when the disciples asked who should be greatest 
in the kingdom of Heaven, they received such an 
answer as this : 

' Except ye be converted, and become as little chil- 
dren, ye shall not enter into the kingdom of Heaven ; 
whosoever therefore shall humble himself as this 
little child, the same is greatest in the kingdom of 
Heaven.' * 

X. Woe be unto them who disdain to humble them- 

> Rev. iv, [10]. [Isaiah Ix. 22.] 

[Isaiah Ixv. 20.] Matt, xviii. [3J. 



184 OF THE IMITATION OF CHRIST 

selves willingly with little children ; because the low 
gate of the kingdom of Heaven will not give them 
entrance. * 

Woe also to the rich, who have here their consola- 
tion ; for whilst the poor enter into the kingdom of 
God, they shall stand lamentiiig without. 

Rejoice ye that be humble,^ and ye poor be ye filled 
with joy, for yours is the kingdom of God, if at least ye 
walk according to the Truth. 



CHAPTER LIX 

THAT ALL OUR HOPE ANO TRUST IS TO BE 
FIXED IN GOD ALONE 

Lord, what is my confidence which I have in this life -^ 
or what is the greatest comfort I can derive from any 
thing under Heaven .'' 

Is it not Thou, O Lord my God, whose mercies are 
without number .'' 

Where hath it ever been well with me without Thee ? 
or when could it be ill with me, when Thou wert 
present ? 

I had rather be poor for Tliee, than rich without 
Thee. 

I rather choose to be a pilgrim on earth with Tliee, 
than without Thee to possess Heaven. Where Thou 
art, there is Heaven : and where Thou art not, there is 
death and hell. 

ITiou art all my desire, and therefore 1 must needs sigh 
and call and earnestly pray unto Thee. 

In short there is none whom I can fully trust to, 
nor?e that can seasonably help me in my necessities, 
but only '^Thou, my God. 

1 Matt. vii. [14]. Matt. v. [3]. 



OF OUR ENTIRE DEPENDENCE ON GOD 186 

ITiou art my hope, Tliou my confidence ; Thou art 
my Comforter, and in all thine-s most faithful unto 
Me. 

II. All men seek their own gain ; * Thou settest for- 
ward my salvation and my profit only, and turnest all 
things to my good. 

Although Thou exposest me to divers temptations 
and adversities, yet Thou orderest all this to my advan- 
tage, who art wont to try Thy beloved ones a thousand 
ways. 

In which trial of me Tliou oughtest no less to be loved 
and praised, than if Thou didst fill me full of heavenly 
consolations. 

III. In Thee therefore, O Lord God, I place my 
whole hope and refuge ; on Thee I rest all my tribula- 
tion and anguish ; for I find all to be weak and incon- 
stant, whatsoever I behold out of Thee. 

For many friends cannot profit, nor strong helpers 
assist, nor prudent counsellors give a profitable answer, 
nor the books of the learned afford comfort, nor any 
precious substance deliver, nor any place, however re- 
tired and lovely, give shelter, unless Thou Thyself 
dost assist, help, strengthen, console, instruct, and 
guard us. 

IV. For all things that seem to belong to the attain- 
ment of peace and felicity, without Thee, are nothing, 
and do bring in truth no felicity at all. 

Thou therefore art the Fountain of all that is good, 
the Height of life, the Depth of all that can be 
spoken ; and to hope in Tliee above all things, is the 
strongest comfort of Thy servants. 

To Thee therefore do I lift up mine eyes ; in Thee 
my God, the Father of mercies, do I put my trust. 

Bless and sanctify my soul with Thy heavenly bless- 
ings, that it may become Thy holy habitation, and the 
seat of Thine eternal glory ; and let nothing be found 
in this temple of Thy Divinity, whicli shall oflFend the 
eyes of Tliy Majesty. 

Phil. ii. [21.] 



186 OF THE IMITATION OF CHRIST 

According to the greatness of Thy goodness and 
multitude oif Thy mercies look upon me, and hear the 
prayer of Thy poor servant, who is far exiled from 
'lliee in the land of the sliadow of death. 

Protect and keep the soul of me the meanest of ^Fhy 
servants, amidst so many dangers of tliis corruptible 
life, and by Thy grace accompanying me direct it along 
the way of peace to its home of everlasting brightness. 
Amen. 



THE FOURTH BOOK 

CONCERNING THE SACRAMENT 

A DEVOUT EXHOHTATION TO THE HOLY COMMUNION 

The Voice of Christ. 

' CoaiE unto Me all ye that labour and are heavy laden, 
and I will refresh you/^ saith the Lord. 

'The bread which I will give is My Flesh, for the 
life of the world,' ^ 

'Take ye and eat; this is My Body which is given 
for you : ^ Do this in remembrance of Me/* 

* He that eateth My Flesh and drinketh My Blood, 
dwelleth in Me, and I in him.' 

' The Words which I have spoken unto you are Spirit 
and Life.'" 



CHAPTER I 

WITH HOW GREAT REVERENCE CHRIST OUGHT TO 
BE RECEIVED 

The Voice of the Disciple. 

These are Thy words, O Christ the everlasting Truth, 
though not uttered all at one time, nor written in one 
and the self-same place. 



1 Matt. xi. [28]. 2 John vi. [51]. Matt. xxvi. [26]. 
' 1 Cor. xi. [241. * John vi. [56, 63]. 



4 



188 OF THE IMITATION OF CHRIST 

Because therefore they are Thine and true^ they are 
all thankfully and faithfully to be received by me. 

They are Thine, and Thou hast pronounced them ; 
and they are mine also, because Thou hast spoken 
them for my salvation. 

I cheerfully receive them from Thy mouth, that they 
may be the more deeply implanted in my heart. 

They arouse me, those most gracious words so full of 
sweetness and of love ; but mine own offences do dis- 
hearten me, and an impure conscience driveth me back 
from the receiving of so great Mysteries. 

The sweetness of Thy words doth encourage me, but 
the multitude of my sins weigheth me down. 

II. Tliou commandest me to come confidently unto 
Thee, if I would have part with Thee ; and to receive 
the food of immortality, if I desire to obtain everlasting 
life and glory. 

' Come unto Me, (sayest Thou,) all ye that labour 
and are heavy laden, and I will refresh you.'^ 

O sweet and loving word in the ear of a sinner, that 
Thou, my Lord God, shouldest invite the poor and 
needy to the participation of Thy most holy Body and 
Blood ! 

But who am 1, Lord, that I should presume to approach 
unto Thee } 

Behold the Heaven of Heavens cannot contain Thee, 
and Thou sayest, 'Come ye all unto Me.^ 

III. ^Fhat meaueth this so gracious a condescension, 
and this so loving invitation .^ 

How shall I dare to come, who know not any good 
in mvself, whereupon I may presume ! 

How shall I bring Thee into my house, I that have 
. so often offended Thy most benign countenance } 

Angels and Archangels stand in awe of Thee, holy 
and righteous men do fear Thee, and sayest Thou, 
' Come ye all unto Me } ' 

Unless Thou, O Lord, didst say this, who would 
believe it to be true ? 



Matt. xi. [28 



f 



OF THE HOLY COMMUNION 189 

And unless Tbou didst command it, who could attempt 
to draw near? 

Behold^ Noah that just man laboured a hundred 
years in the making of the Ark/ that he might be 
saved with a few ; and how can I in one hours space 
prepare myself to receive with reverence the Maker of 
the world ? 

IV. Moses, Tliy great servant, and Thine especial 
friend, made an ark of incorruptible wood, which also 
he covered over with the finest gold, wherein to lay up 
the tables of the law ; ^ and I a corrupted creature, how 
shall I dare so unconcernedly to receive the Maker of 
the Law, and the Giver of life ? 

Solomon the wisest of the kings of Israel bestowed 
seven years in building a magnificent Temple to the 
praise of Thy Name.^ 

He also celebrated the feast of dedication thereof for 
eight days together ; he offered a thousand peace- 
offerings, and he solemnly set the Ark of the Covenant 
in the place prepared for it, with the sound of trumpets, 
and great joy.* 

And I the most miserable and poorest of men, how 
shall I bring Thee into my house, I that can scarce 
spend one half-hour in true devotion .'' and would that 
I could even once spend something like one half-hour 
in worthy and due manner ! 

V. O my God, how earnestly did they study and 
endeavour to please Thee ! 

Alas, how little is that which I do ! how short a time 
do 1 spend, when I am disposing myself to receive the 
Communion ! 

Seldom am 1 wholly collected ; very seldom indeed 
am I cleansed from all distraction. 

And yet surely in the life-giving Presence of Thy 
Godhead no unbecoming thought ought to intrude 
itself, nor should any creature occupy my heart ; for it 
is not an Angel, but the Lord of the Angels, whom I 
am about to receive as my Guest. 

' Gen. vi. [3]. ' Exod. xxv. [1016]. 

1 Kings vi. [38]. * 2 Kings viii. 



190 OF THE IMITATION OF CHRIST 

VI. However, very great is the difference between 
the ark of tlie covenant with its relicks, and Th.v most 
pure Body with Its unspeakable virtues ; between those 
legal sacrifices, figures of things to come, and the 
True Sacrifice of Thy Body, the fulfilment of all ancient 
sacrifices. 

^V^herefore then am I not more ardent and zealous in 
seeking Thine adorable Presence ? 

\Vhy do I not prepare myself with greater solicitude 
to receive Thy holy things ? whereas those ancient 
holy patriarchs and prophets, yea kings also and princes, 
with the whole people, shewed such an afi'ectionateness 
of devotion to Tliy divine service. 

VII. The most devout King David ^ danced before 
the ark of God with all his might, calling to mind the 
benefits bestowed in time past upon his forefathers. He 
made instruments of sundry kinds, he published psalms, 
and appointed them to be chanted with joy ; he also 
oftentimes himself played on the harp, being inspired 
with the grace of the Holy Ghost. He taught the 
people of Israel to prai.se God with their whole hearts, 
and with voices full of melody to bless and praise Him 
every day. 

If so great devotion was then used, and such cele- 
brating of divine praise was kept up before the ark of 
the testament ; what reverence and devotion ought now 
to be preserved bv me and all Christian people during 
the ministration of the Sacrament, in receiving the 
most precious Body and Blood of Christ. 

VHI. Many run to divers places to visit the memorials 
of Saints departed, are full of admiration at hearing of 
their deeds, behold with awe the spacious buildings of 
their temples, and find their affections moved by what- 
ever is connected with their memory. 

But behold. Thou art Thyself here present with me 
on Thine altar, my God, Saint of saints, Creator of 
men, and Lord of the Angels. 

Often in looking after such memorials people are 

2 Sam. vi. [14 ; Ecclus. xlvii. 8, 9]. 



OF THE HOLY COMMUNION 191 

moved by curiosity, and the novelty of fresh sights, 
vvliilst little or no fruit of amendment is carried home ; 
particularly when they go from place to place with 
such levity, without true contrition of heart. 

But here, in the Sacrament of the Altar, TTiou art 
wholly present, my God, The Man Christ Jesus ; here, 
to all worthy and devout receivers, is granted an 
abundant fruit of eternal salvation. 

There is here to attract men nothing that savours of 
levity, of curiosity, or of sensuality ; nothing but firm 
faith, devout hope, and sincere charity. 

IX. O God, the invisible Creator of the world, how 
wonderfully dost Thou deal with us ; how sweetly and 
graciously dost Tliou dispose of all things with ITiine 
elect, to whom Thou offerest Thyself to be received in 
this Sacrament ! 

For this verily exceedeth all understanding ; this 
specially draweth the hearts of the devout, and in- 
flameth their affections. 

For even Thy true faithful ones, who dispose their 
whole life to amendment, from this most precious 
Sacrament oftentimes gain much grace of devotion, and 
love of virtue. 

X. O the admirable and hidden grace of this Sacra- 
ment, which only the faithful ones of Christ do know ! 
but the unbelieving and such as are slaves unto sin, 
cannot have experience thereof. 

In this Sacrament spiritual grace is conferred, and 
virtue which was lost is restored in the soul, and the 
beauty which by sin had been disfigured again re- 
turneth. 

'I'his grace is sometimes so great, that out of the 
fulness of devotion here given, not the mind only, but 
the weak body also, feeleth great increase of strength 
bestowed on it. 

XI. Nevertheless our lukewarmness and negligence 
is exceedingly to be lamented and pitied, that we are 
not drawn with greater affection to receive Christ ; in 
whom doth consist all the hope of those that are to be 
saved, and all their merit. 



192 OF THE IMITATION OF CHRIST 

For He Himself is our sanctification and redemption ; 
He Himself is the consolation of pilgrims, and the 
everlasting fruition of Saints. 

It is therefore exceedingly to be lamented that many 
do so little consider this salutary Mystery, whicli 
causeth joy in Heaven, and preserveth the whole 
world. 

Alas for the blindness and hardness of the human 
heart, that it does not more tenderly cherish so un- 
speakable a Gift ; but rather through the daily use 
thereof sinks into listless disregard of it ! 

XII. For if this most holy Sacrament were celebrated 
in one place only, and were consecrated by one only 
priest in the world ; with how great desires dost thou 
think would men be affected to that place, and towards 
such a priest of God, that they might be witnesses of 
the celebration of these divine Mysteries .'' 

But now many are made priests, and in many places 
Christ is offered ; that the grace and love of God to 
man may appear so much the greater, the more widely 
this sacred Communion is spread over the world. 

Thanks be unto Thee, O merciful Jesu, Thou eternal 
Shepherd, for that Thou hast vouchsafed to refresh us, 
who are poor and in a state of banishment, with Thy 
precious Body and Blood ; and to invite us to the re- 
ceiving of these Mysteries by a message even from 
Thine own mouth, saying, ' Come unto Me all ye 
that labour and are heavy laden, and I will refresh 
you.' 



GOD'S LOVE IN THE HOLY EUCHARIST 193 



CHAPTER II 

THAT THE GREAT GOODNESS AND LOVE OF GOD IS 
EXHIBITED TO MAN IN THIS SACRAMENT 

The Voice of the Disciple. 

In confidence of ITiy goodness and great mercy, O 
Lordj 1 draw near, as a sick person to the Healer, as 
one hungry and thirsty to the Fountain of Life, a 
needy wretch to the King of Heaven, a servant to his 
Lord, a creature to the Creator, a desolate soul to my 
own tender Comforter. 

But whence is this to me, that Thou vouchsafest to 
come unto me ? ^ what am I, that Tliou shouldest grant 
Thine own self unto me ? 

How dare a sinner appear before Thee? and how is 
it that Thou dost vouchsafe to come unto a sinner ? 

Thou knowest Thy servant, and art well aware that 
he hath in him no good thing, for which Thou shouldest 
grant him this favour. 

I confess therefore mine own vileness, I acknowledge 
Thy goodness, I praise Thy tender mercy, and give 
Thee thanks for this Thy transcendent love. 

For Thou doest this for Thine own sake, not for any 
merits of mine ; to the end that Thy goodness may be 
the better known unto me, Thy love more abundantly 
poured down, and Thy gracious humility the more 
eminently set forth. 

Since therefore it is Tliy pleasure, and Thou hast 
commanded that it should be so, this Thy condescension 
is also dearly pleasing unto me, and O that my iniquity 
may be no hindrance lierein ! 

II. O most sweet and most benign Jesu, how great 
reverence and thanksgiving, together with perpetual 
praise, is due uuto Thee for the receiving of Thy sacred 

Lmke i. [43], 



194 OF THE IMITATION OF CHRIST 

Body and Blood, whose preciousness no mortal man is 
able to express ! 

But on what shall my thoughts dwell at this Com- 
munion, in thus approaching unto my Lord, whom I 
am not able duly to honour, and yet whom I cannot 
but desire devoutly to receive ? 

What can I think on better and more profitable, than 
utterly to humble myself before Thee, and to exalt 
Thine infinite goodness above me ? 

I praise Thee, my God, and will exalt Thee for ever : 
I do despise myself and cast myself down before Thee, 
into the deep of mine own vileness. 

III. Behold, Thou art the Holy of holies, and I the 
scum of sinners ! 

Behold, Thou inclinest Thyself unto me, who am not 
worthy so much as to look up unto Thee ! 

Behold, Thou comest unto me ; it is Thy will to be 
with me. Thou invitest me to Thy banquet. 

Thou art willing to give me heavenly food and bread 
of Angels to eat,^ which is indeed no other than Thyself 
the Living Bread, which camest down from Heaven, 
and givest life unto the world. 

IV. Behold, from whence doth this love proceed ! 
what a gracious condescension of Thine shineth forth 
herein ! how great thanks and praises are due unto 
Thee for these benefits ! 

O how salutary and profitable was Thy counsel, 
when Thou didst ordain It ! how sweet and pleasant 
the banquet, when Thou gavest Thyself to be our 
food ! 

O how admirable is this Thy working, O Lord, 
how mighty is Thy power, how unspeakable Thy 
truth ! 

For Thou didst speak the word and all things were 
made ; ^ and this was done which Thou Thyself com- 
mandest. 

V. A matter of great admiration, worthy of all faith, 

Ps. Ixxviii. [25] ; John vi. [33], 
' Gen. i. ; Ps. cxlviii. [5], 



GOD'S LOVE IN THE HOLY EUCHARIST 195 

and surpassing man's understanding, that Thou my 
Lord God, True God and man, shouldest offer Thyself 
wholly to us in a little Bread and Wine, and therein 
become our inexhaustible support. 

Thou who art the Lord of the universe, and standest 
in need of none,^ art pleased to dwell in us by means 
of this Thy Sacrament. 

Do Thou preserve my heart and body undefiled, that 
with a cheerful and pure conscience I may be able very 
frequently * to celebrate, and * to receive to my ever- 
lasting health, those Mysteries, which Thou didst 
specially ordain and institute for Thine own honour, 
and for a never-ceasing memorial of Thyself. 

VI. Rejoice, O my soul, and give thanks unto God, 
for so noble a gift, and so precious a consolation, left 
unto thee in this vale of tears. 

For as often as thou callest to mind this Mystery, 
and receivest the Body of Christ, so often dost thou go 
over the work of thy redemption, and art made partaker 
of all the merits of Christ. 

For the love of Christ is never diminished, and the 
greatness of His propitiation is never exhausted. 

Therefore thou oughtest to dispose thyself hereunto 
by a constant fresh renewing of thy mind, and to weigh 
with attentive consideration the great Mystery 0/ 
salvation. 

So great, so new, and so joyful ought it to seem 
unto thee, when thou * celebratest or * partakest in 
these holy Mysteries, as if on this same day Christ first 
descending into the womb of the Virgin were become 
man, or hanging on the Cross did suffer and die for the 
salvation of mankind. 

' Psalm xvi. [2]. 
* The parts between asterisks not to be used save by a Priest, 



196 OF THE IMITATION OF CHRIST 
CHAPTER III 

THAT IT IS PROFITABLE TO COMMUNICATK OFTEN 

The Voice of the Disciple. 

Behold, O Lord, I come unto Thee, that it may be 
well with me through Thy gift, and that I may rejoice 
in Thy holy feast, which Thou, O God, hast in Thy 
goodness prepared for the poor.' 

Behold in Thee is all whatsoever I can or ought to 
desire ; Thou art my Salvation and my Redemption, 
my Hope and my Strength, my Honour and Glory, 

Rejoice therefore this day the soul of Thy servant ; ^ 
for unto Thee, O Loi*d Jesu, have I lifted up my 
soul. 

I do long to receive Thee now with devotion and 
reverence ; I desire to bring Thee into my house, that 
with Zaccheus I may be counted worthy to be blessed 
by Thee, and to be numbered amongst the sons of 
Abraham. 

My soul thirsteth to receive Thy Body and Blood ; 
my heart longeth to be united with Thee. 

II. Give Thyself to me, and it sufficeth ; for besides 
Thee no comfort is available. 

Without Thee I cannot be, and without Thy visita- 
tion I have no power to live. 

And therefore I must needs often draw near unto 
Thee, and receive Thee for the medicine of my salvation ; 
lest haply I faint in the way, if I be deprived of the 
heavenly Food. 

For so, most merciful Jesus, Thou once didst say, 
preaching to the people, and curing divers diseases, 
' I will not send them home fasting, lest they faint in 
the way, ' ^ 

Deal Thou therefore in like manner now with me, 

1 Psalm Ixviii. [10], Pgalm Ixxxvi. [4]. 

2 Matt. XV. [32]; Mark viii. [8]. 



COMFORT OF FREQUENT COMMUNION 197 

who hast vouchsafed to leave Thyself in the Sacrament 
for the comfort of the faithful. 

For Thou art the sweet refection of the soul ; and he 
that eateth Thee worthily, shall be partaker and heir 
of everlasting glory. 

It is indeed necessary for me, who so often fall into 
error and sin, so quickly wax dull and faint, that by 
frequent prayer and confession, and receiving of Thy 
Holy Body and Blood, I renew, cleanse and inflame 
myself, lest haply, by too long abstaining, I fall away 
from my holy purposes. 

III. For the imaginations of man are prone unto 
evil from his youth ; i and unless some divine remedy 
help him, he by-and-by falleth away to worse things. 

This Holy Communion therefore draweth us back 
from evil and strengtheueth us in good. 

For if I be now so often negligent and lukewarm 
when I communicate * or celebrate * ; what would 
become of me if I received not this remedy, and sought 
not after so great a help ? 

* And although I may not be fit, nor well prepared 
to celebrate every day ; I will endeavour notwithstand- 
ing at due times to receive the divine Mysteries, and to 
be partaker of so great a Grace. * 

For this is the one chief consolation of faithful souls, 
so long as they are absent from Thee in this mortal 
body ; that being mindful of their God, they often 
receive their Beloved, with devout mind. 

IV. O the wonderful condescension of Thy tender 
mercy towards us, that Thou O Lord God, the Cre- 
ator and Giver of life to all Spirits, dost vouchsafe to 
come unto a poor soul, and with Thy whole Deity 
and Humanity abundantly to satisfy its famishing 
hunger ! 

O happy minds and blessed souls, who have the 
privilege of receiving Thee, their Lord God, with 
devout affection, and in so receiving Thee are permitted 
to be full of spiritual joy ! 

1 Gen. viii. [21]. 



198 OF THE IMITATION OF CHRIST 

O how gi;eat a Lord do they entertain ! how beloved 
a Guest do they harbour ! how delightful a Companion 
do they receive ! how faithful a Friend do they welcome ! 
how lovely and noble a Spouse do they embrace ! even 
Him who is to be loved before all that are beloved^ and 
above all things that can be desired. 

O Thou my most sweet, most beloved ! let heaven 
and earth and all their ornaments be silent in Thy 
presence ; for what praise and beauty soever they have, 
it is received from Thy bounteous condescension, and 
shall never equal the grace and beauty of Thy Name, 
whose wisdom is beyond all numbers.^ 



CHAPTER IV 

THAT MANY BENEFITS ARE BESTOWED UPON THEM THAT 
COMMUNICATE DEVOUTLY 

The Voice of the Disciple. 

O Lord my God, do Thou prevent Thy servant with the 
blessings of Thy sweetness,^ that I may be enabled to 
approach worthily and devoutly to Thy glorious 
Sacrament. 

Stir up my heart toward Thee, and set me free from 
heavy listlessness : visit me with Thy salvation,^ that I 
may taste in spirit Thy sweetness, which plentifully 
lieth hid in this Sacrament as in a fountain. 

Enlighten also mine eyes to behold so great a 
Mystery, and strengthen me with undoubting faith to 
believe it. 

For it is Thy work, and no human power ; Thy 
sacred institution, not man's invention. 

For of himself no man is able to comprehend and 

' Psalmcxlvii. [5]. ^ Ps^im xxi. [3]. 

Psalm cvi. [4], 



THE COMFORT OF DEVOUT COMMUNION 199 

understand these things, which transcend even the 
exquisite skill of Angels. 

\\'hat portion then of so high and sacred a Mystery 
shall I, unworthy sinner, dust and ashes, be able to 
search out and comprehend ? 

II. O Lord, in the simplicity of my heart, with a 
good and firm faith, and at Thy commandment, I draw 
near unto Thee with hope and reverence ; and I do 
truly believe that Thou art here present in this Sacra- 
ment, both God and Man. 

Thy will therefore is, that I should receive Thee, and 
that I should unite myself unto Thee in charity. 

Whereupon I implore Thy mercy, and do crave Thy 
special Grace, to this end ; that 1 may wholly be dis- 
solved and overflow with love towards Thee, and never 
hereafter suffer any consolation to enter in, which 
comes not from Thee. 

For this most liigh and precious Sacrament is the 
health both of soul and body, the medicine for all 
spiritual languor ; hereby my vices are cured, my 
passions bridled, my temptations overcome or at least 
weakened ; greater grace is infused, virtue begun is 
increased, faith is confirmed, hope strengthened, and 
love inflamed and enlarged. 

III. For Thou hast bestowed, and still oftentimes 
dost bestow many benefits in this Sacrament upon Thy 
beloved ones that communicate devoutly, O my God, 
the Protector of my soul, the Restorer of human weak- 
ness, and the Giver of all inward consolation. 

For Thou impartest unto them much comfort against 
every variety of tribulation, and liftest them up from 
the depth of their own dejected state, to hope in Thy 
protection, and dost inwardly recreate and enlighten 
them with new Grace ; so that they who at first and 
before Communion felt themselves full of anxiety and 
heartlessness, afterwards, being refreshed with heavenly 
Meat and Drink, do find in themselves a change for the 
better. 

And in such a way of dispensation as this dealest 
Thou with Thine elect, in order that they may truly 



200 OF THE IMITATION OF CHRIST 



<Q 



^ 



I 



acknowledge^ and clearly prove, how great their own 
infirmity is, and what goodness and grace they obtain 
from Thee. 

For they of themselves are cold, hard, and undevout ; 
but by Thee they are enabled to become fervent, cheer- 
ful, and devout. 

For who is there, that approaching humbly unto the 
fountain of sweetness, doth not carry away from thence 
at least some little sweetness ? 

Or who standing near a large fire, receiveth not some 
small heat therefrom .'' 

And Thou art a fountain always full and overflowing ; 
a fire ever burning and never going out.^ 

IV. Wherefore if I am not permitted to draw out of 
the full fountain itself, nor to drink my fill, I will not- 
withstanding set my lips to the mouth of this Heavenly 
conduit, that I may receive from thence at least some 
small drop to refresh my thirst, and may not quite 
wither away. 

And though I cannot as yet be altogether Heavenly, 
nor so inflamed as the Cherubim and Seraphim, yet 
notwithstf^nding I will endeavour to apply myself 
earnestly to devotion, and to prepare my heart to obtain 
if it be but some small flame of divine fire, by the 
humble receiving of this life-giving Sacrament. 

But whatsoever is hereunto wanting in me, O Merci- 
ful Jesu, most Holy Saviour, do Thou in my behalf 
bountifully and graciously supply. Thou who hast 
vouchsafed to call us all unto Tliee, saying, ' Come unto 
Me all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will 
refresh you.'^ 

V. I indeed labour in the sweat of my brows.' I am 
racked with grief of heart, I am burdened with sins, I 
am troubled with temptations, I am entangled and 
oppressed with many evil passions ; and there is none 
to help me, none to deliver and save me, but Thou O 
Lord God my Saviour, to whom I commit myself and 

1 Isaiah xii. [3] ; Lev. vi. [13]. Matt. xi. [28]. 

Gen. iii. [19]. 



THE DIGNITY OF THE HOLY EUCHARIST 201 

all that is mine, that Thou mayest keep watch over me, I 
and bring me safe to life everlasting. 

Receive me for the honour and glory of Thy Name, 
Thou who hast prepared Thy Body and Blood to he my 
meat and drink. 

Grant, O Lord God, my Saviour, that by frequenting 
Thy Mysteries, the zeal of my devotion may grow and 
increase. 



CHAPTER V 

OF THE DIGNITY OP THIS SACRAMENT, AND OF THE 
MINISTERIAL FUNCTION 

The Voice of the Beloved. 

If thou hadst the purity of Angels,^ and the sanctity 
of Saint John Baptist, thou wouldst not be worthy 
either to receive this Sacrament thyself, or to administer 
It to others. 

For it is not within the compass of the deserts of 
men, that man should consecrate and adminis^;er the 
Sacrament of Christ, and receive for food the bread of 
Angels. ^ 

Grand is this Mystery ; great too is the dignity of 
the Priests, to whom hath been granted that which is 
not permitted to Angels. 

For none but Priests duly ordained in the Church, 
have power to celebrate this Sacrament, and to con- 
secrate the Body of Christ. 

The Priest is indeed the minister of God, using the 
word of God, by God's command and appointment : 
nevertheless God is there the principal Author, and 
invisible W^orker ; to whom all that He willeth is 
Bubjectj and all that He commandeth is obedient. ^ 

1 Matt, xviii. [10]. Psalm Ixxviii. [25]. 
Gen. i. ; Ps. xlix. [7] ; Kom. ix. [20]. 



202 OF THE IMITATION OF CHRIST 

II. * Thou oughtest then to trust God Almighty in 
this most excellent Sacrament, more than thine own 
sensBj or any visible sign. 

And therefore thou must approach to this holy work 
with fear and reverence. 

Take diligent heed unto thyself/ and see what That 
is, whereof the ministry is delivered unto thee by the 
laying on of the Bishop's hand. 

Behold, thou hast been made a priest, and consecrated 
to celebrate the Lord's Sacraments ; see now that 
thou offer [the Christian] Sacrifice to God faithfully 
and devoutly, and at fit opportunities, and conduct 
thyself so, as that thou mayest be without reproof. 

Thou hast not lightened thy burden, but art now 
bound with a straiter band of discipline, and art obliged 
to a more perfect degree of sanctity. 

A Priest ought to be adorned with all graces, and to 
give example of good life to others. 

His life and conversation ^ should not be in the 
popular and common ways of mankind, but with the 
Angels in Heaven, or with perfect men on earth. 

III. A Priest clad in sacred garments is Christ's 
Deputy, that with all supplication and humility he may 
beseech God for himself and for the whole people.^ 

He hath both before and behind him the sign of the 
Lord's Cross, that he may continually be reminded of 
the Passion of Christ. He weareth the Cross on the 
Chasuble before him, that he may diligently look on 
Christ's footsteps, and earnestly study to follow them. 
Behind also, he is signed with the Cross, that he may 
cheerfully endure, for God's sake, any evils inflicted 
on him by others. He beareth the Cross before him, 
that he may mourn for his own sins, and behind him, 
that he may with sympathy and tears lament for the 
/aults of others also, and know that he hath been placed 
'n the midst between God and the sinner. 

Neither ought he to cease from prayer and holy 
oblation, till he prevail to obtain grace and mercy. 

When a Priest doth celebrate [the Holy Eucharist], 

' 1 Tim. iv. [16]. Phil. ill. [20]. Heb. v. [3]. 



SELF-EXAMINATION BEFORE COMMUNION 203 

lie honoureth God, he rejoiceth the Angels, he edifieth 
the Church, he helpeth the living, [he commemorateth 
the departed,] and maketh himself partaker of all good 
things. 



CHAPTER VI 

AN ENQUIRY CONCERNING SPIRITUAL EXERCISE BEFORE 
COMMUNION 

The Voice of the Disciple. 

When I weigh Thy worthiness, O Lord, and mine own 
vileness, I exceedingly tremble, and am confounded 
within myself. 

For if I come not unto Thee, I fly from life ; and if 
I unworthily intrude myself, I incur Thy displeasure. 

"Wliat therefore shall I do, O my God, my Helper and 
my Counsellor in all necessity .'' 

II. Teach Thou me the right way : appoint me some 
brief exercise, suitable to this Holy Communion. 

For it is good for me to know how with devotion and 
reverence I should prepare my heart for lliee, for the 
receiving of Thy Sacrament to my soul's health, * or 
it may be also for the celebrating of so great and divine 
a Sacrifice.* 



CHAPTER VII 

OF THOROUGHLY SEARCHING OUR OWN CONSCIENCE, AND 
OF HOLY PURPOSES OF ABIENDMBNT 

The Voice of the Beloved, 

*Above all things, with exceeding humility of heart, 
and with suppliant reverence, with a full faith, and 
dutiful anxiety for God's honour, ought God's Priest to 
come to celebrate, and to receive this Sacrament. 



204 OF THE IMITATION OF CHRIST 

Examine diligently thy conscience^ and to the utmost 
of thy power purify and make it clear, with true con- 
trition and humble confession ; so as there may be 
nothing in thee, that may weigh heavy upon thee, or 
that may breed in thee remorse of conscience, and 
hinder thy free access to the throne of Grace. 

Think with displeasure of all thy sins in general, 
and more particularly bewail and lament thy daily 
transgressions. 

And if thou hast time, confess unto God in the secret 
of thine heart all the wretchedness of thy disordered 
passions. 

II. Lament with pain and sighing that thou art yet 
so carnal and woi-ldly, so unmortiiied in thy passions, 
so full of the motions of concupiscence. 

So unwatchful over thy outward senses, so often 
entangled with many vain fancies : 

So much inclined to outward things, so negligent in 
things inward and spiritual : 

So prone to laughter and unbridled mirth, so hard 
and indisposed to tears and compunction : 

So prompt to ease and pleasures of the flesh, so dull 
to zeal and strictness of life : 

So curious to hear what is new, and to see what is 
beautiful ; so slack to embrace what is Ijumble and 
mean : 

So covetous of abundance, so niggardly in giving, so 
close in keeping : 

So inconsiderate in speech, so reluctant to keep 
silence : 

So unhandsome in manners, so fretful in conduct : 

So eager about food, so deaf to the Word of God : 

In such a hurry to rest, so slow to labour : 

So wakeful after gossiping tales, so drowsy at the 
sacred Services : 

So hasty to arrive at the end thereof, so inclined to 
be wandering and inattentive : 

So negligent in the prayers, so lukewarm in cele- 
brating, so dry and heartless in receiving the Holy 
Euchai'ist. 



SELF-EXAMINATION BEFORE COMMUNION 205 

So quickly distracted, so seldom thoroughly self- 
collected : 

So suddenly moved to auger, so apt to take displeasure 
agaiust another : 

So ready to judge, so severe to reprove : 
So joyful at prosperity, so weak in adversity : 
So often making many good resolutions, and yet 
bringing them at last to so poor effect. 

III. These and other thy defects being confessed 
and bewailed with sorrow and great displeasure at thine 
own infirmity, make thou a firm resolution to be always 
amending thy life, and making progress in all that is 

good. : 

Then with full resignation an!f with thy entire will, 
oifer up thyself to the honour of My Name, on the 
altar of thy heart a perpetual whole burnt offering, 
even thy body and soul, faithfully committing them 
unto Me. 

And thus mayest thou be accounted worthy to di-aw 
near to celebrate this Eucharistical Sacrifice unto God, 
and to receive the Sacrament of My Body and Blood to 
thy soul's health.* 

IV. For man hath no oblation more worthy, nor any 
greater for the destroying of sin, than to offer himself 
unto God purely and wholly, in and with the Holy 
Communion of Christ's Body and Blood. 

And when a man shall have done what lieth in him, 
and shall be truly penitent, how often soever he shall 
come to Me for pardon and grace, 'as I live,' saith 
the Lord, ' who will not the death of a sinner, but 
rather that he be converted and live,^ I will not 
remember his sins any more, but they shall all be 
forgiven him.' 

' Ezek. xviii. [22, 23], 



206 OF THE IMITATION OF CHRIST 



CHAPTER VIII 

OF THE OBLATION OF CHRIST ON THE CROSS AND OP 
RESIGNATION OF OURSELVES 

The Voice of the Beloved, 

As I of Mine own will did offer up Myself unto God 
the Father for thy sins/ My hands stretched out on 
the cross, and My body stripped and laid bare, so that 
nothing remained in Me that was not wholly turned 
into a sacrifice for thU appeasing of the divine Majesty : 

In like manner oughtest thou also to offer thyself 
willingly unto Me every day in the Holy Communion, 
as a pure and sacred oblation, with all thy strength 
and affections, and to the utmost reach of thy inward 
faculties. 

What do I require of thee more, than that thou 
study to resign thyself entirely unto Me ? 

Whatsoever thou givest besides thyself, is of no 
value in My sight, for I seek not thy gifts, but thee.^ 

II. As it would not suffice thee to have all things 
whatsoever, besides Me ; so neither can it please Me, 
whatsoever thou givest, if thou offer not thyself. 

Offer up thyself unto Me, and give thyself wholly 
for God, and thy offering shall be acceptable. 

Behold, I offered up Myself wholly unto My Father 
for thee ; I give also My whole Body and Blood for 
thy food, that I might be wholly thine, and that thou 
mightest continue Mine to the end. 

But if thou stand upon thyself, and dost not offer 
thyself up freely unto My will, the oblation is not 
complete, neither will there be entire union between us. 

Therefore a free offering up of thyself into the hands 
of God ought to go before all thine actions, if thou 
desire to obtain liberty and grace. 

1 Isaiah liii. [5] ; Heb. ix. [28]. Prov. xxiii. [26]. 



OFFERING UP TO GOD ALL THAT IS OURS 207 

For this is the cause why so few become illuminated 
and inwardly free, because they cannot endure wholly 
to deny themselves. 

My sentence standeth sure, ' Unless a man forsake 
all, he cannot be My disciple/ ' If thou therefore 
desire to be My disciple, offer up thyself unto Me with 
thy whole affections. 



CHAPTER IX 

THAT WE OUGHT TO OFFER UP OURSELVES AND ALL 
THAT IS OURS UNTO GOD, AND TO PRAY FOR ALL 

The Voice of the Disciple. 

Thine, O Lord, are all things that are in heaven, and 
that are in earth. ^ 

I desire to offer up myself unto Thee, as a free obla- 
tion, and to continue Thine for ever. 

O Lord, in the simplicity of my heart I offer myself 
unto Thee this day to be Thy servant for ever, in 
humble submission, and for a sacrifice of perpetual 
praise. 

Receive Thou me, with this holy Oblation of Thy 
precious Body ; which Offering I make to Thee this 
day in the presence of Angels invisibly attending ; and 
may this further the salvation of myself and of all Thy 
people. 

II. Lord, I offer unto Thee, on Thy propitiatory 
altar, all my sins and offences, which I have committed 
before Thee .and Thy holy Angels, from the day 
wherein I first could sin even to this hour ; that Thou 
mayest consume and burn them, one and all, with the 
fire of Thy love, and do away all the stains of my sins, 
and cleanse my conscience from all offences, and 
restore to me Thy grace which I lost by sin, fully 

1 Luke xiv. [33 J. ' Psalm xxiv. [1]. 



208 OF THE IMITATION OF CHRIST 

forgiving me all, and admitting me mercifully to the 
kiss of peace. 

HI. AVhat can I do in regard of my sins, but humbly 
confess and bewail tbem,^ and unceasingly entreat Thy 
propitiation ? 

I entreat Thee, hear me propitiously, when I stand 
before Thee my God. 

All my sins are exceedingly displeasing to me ; I 
will never more commit them ; but for them I do 
grieve, and will grieve as long as I live, being resolved 
to practise penitence, and to the utmost of my power 
to make restitution. 

Forgive me, O God, forgive me my sins for the sake 
of Thy holy Name ; save Thou my soul, which Thou 
hast redeemed with Thy precious Blood. 

Behold I commit myself unto Thy mercy, I resign 
myself into Thy hands. 

Deal with me according to Thy goodness, not accord- 
ing to my wickedness and iniquity. 

IV. I offer up also unto Thee all that is good in me, 
though it be very small and imperfect, in order that 
Thou mayest amend and sanctify it, that Thou mayest 
make it grateful and acceptable unto Tliee, and always 
be perfecting it more and more ; and bring me also, 
slothful and unprofitable poor creature as I am, to a 
good and blessed end. 

V. Moreover I offer up unto Thee all the pious 
desires of devout persons, the necessities of parents, 
friends, brethren, sisters, and of all those who are dear 
unto me, or who have done good either to myself or 
others for Thy love. 

Also I commend unto Thee, all that have desired 
and begged of me to pray for them and all theirs 

That all may feel the present help of Thy grace, 
the aid of Thy consolation, protection from dangers, 
deliverance from pain ; and that being rescued from 
all evils, they may with joy return abundant thanks- 
givings unto Thee. 

1 Psalm xxxii, [5], 



BENEFIT OF FREQUENT COMMUNION 209 

VI. I offer up also unto Thee my Sacramental prayers 
and intercessions^ for tliose especially who have in any 
matter hurt, grieved, or found fault with me, or who 
have done me any damag-e or displeasure. 

For all those also, whom at any time I may have 
vexed, troubled, burdened, and scandalized, by words 
or deeds, knowingly or in ignorance ; that Tliou 
wouldst grant us all equally pardon for our sins, and 
for our offences against each other. 

Take away from our hearts, O Lord, all suspicious- 
ness, indignation, wrath, and contention, and whatso- 
ever may hurt charity, and lessen brotherly love. 

Have mercy, O Lord, have mercy on those that 
crave Thy mercy, give Grace unto them that stand in 
need thereof, and make us such as that we may be 
worthy to enjoy Thy Grace, and go forward to life 
eternal. Amen. 



CHAPTER X 

THAT THE HOLY COMMUNION IS NOT LIGHTLY TO BE 
FORBORNE 

The Voice of the Beloved. 

Thou oughtest often to have recourse to the Fountain 
of grace and of divine mercy, to the Fountain of good- 
ness and of all purity ; that thou mayest be healed of 
thy sins and passions, and obtain to be made more 
strong and vigilant against all the temptations and 
deceits of the devil. 

The Enemy knowing what exceeding great profit 
and restorative aid comes by the Holy Communion, 
endeavoureth by all means and occasions to withdraw 
and hinder faithful and devout persons from partaking 
therein. 

II. Thus it is that some persons, when they are 

p 



210 OF THE IMITATION OP CHRIST 

preparing to fit themselves for Holy Communion, suffer 
from the insinuations of Satan worse than before. 

That wicked spirit himself (as it is written in Job) 
cometh amongst the sons of God/ to trouble them 
according to his accustomed malice, or to render them 
over-fearful and perplexed, that so he may diminish 
their affections, or by direct assaults take away their 
faith ; to the end he may prevail on them if possible 
either altogether to forbear communicating, or at least 
to come with lukewarmness. 

But there is no heed at all to be taken of these hia 
crafty and fanciful suggestions, be they never so filthy 
and hideous, but all such vain imaginations are to be 
turned back upon his own head. 

They must despise and laugh to scorn the miserable 
wretch, nor dare to omit the Holy Communion on 
account of his assaults, or for the troubles which he 
raiseth within them. 

III. Oftentimes also an over-great solicitude for the 
obtaining a certain degree of devotion, and some anxiety 
or other about the confession of sins, perplexeth and 
hindei-eth them. 

Follow thou herein the counsel of the wise,^ and lay 
aside anxiety and scrupulousness ; for it hinders the 
Grace of God, and overthrows the devotion of the 
mind. 

Do not omit the Holy Communion for every small 
vexation and trouble, but rather proceed at once to 
confess thy sins, and cheerfully forgive others whatever 
ofi'ences they have done against thee.^ 

And if thou hast offended any, humbly crave pardon, 
and God will readily forgive thee. 

IV. What availeth it to delay long the confession of 
thy sins, or to defer the Holy Communion ? 

Make thyself thoroughly clean as soon as possible, 
spit out the poison with all speed, make haste to apply 
this sovereign Remedy, and thou shalt find it to be 
better with thee, than if thou long defer it. 

I Job i. [6]. ' Prov. xiii. [1]. ' Matt. v. [24], 



BENEFIT OF FREQUENT COMMUNION 211 

If thou omit it to-day for one cause, perhaps to- 
morrow another of greater force may occur to thee ; 
j and so thou mayest be hindered a long time from Com- 
munion, and grow more and more unht. 

As quickly as ever thou canst, shake off from thyself 
thy present heaviness and sloth, for it is of no use to 
continue long in disquietness, or to be going on long 
with a disturbed [conscience], and for every-day impedi- 
ments to sequester thyself from Divine service. 

Yea, it is most exceedingly hurtful to defer the Com- 
munion long, for it usually brings on a heavy spiritual 
drowsiness. 

Alas, some persons, lukewarm and undisciplined, do 
willingly delay confession, and defer the Holy Com- 
munion, lest they should be obliged to keep a stricter 
watch over themselves. 

V. O how poor and mean is their love, how weak 
their devotion, who so easily put off the Holy Com- 
munion ! 

How happy is he and how acceptable to God, who so 
ordereth his life, and in such j^urity guardeth his 
conscience, that he is pi-epared and well-disposed to 
communicate even every day, if it were in his power, 
and might be done without others taking notice. 

If a person do sometimes abstain out of humility, 
or by reason of some lawful cause preventing him, he 
is to be commended so far as it arises from a feeling of 
reverence. 

But if a spiritual drowsiness have crept over him, he 
must stir himself up, and do what lieth in him, and 
the Lord will assist his desire, for the good will he hath 
thereto, which is what God doth chieily respect. 

VI. But when any lawful hindrance doth happen, 
he will yet always have a good will, and a pious inten- 
tion to communicate, and so shall he not lose the fruit 
of the Sacrament. 

For it is in the power of any devout person everyday 
and every hour profitably and without let to draw near 
to Christ in spiritual Communion. 

And yet on certain days, and at time appointed, 



212 OF THE IMITATION OF CHRIST 

he ought to receive Sacramentally, with affectionate 
reverence, the Body and Blood of his Redeemer, and 
rather seek the honour and glory of God, than his own 
comfort. ^ 

For he communicateth mystically, and is invisibly 
refreshed, as often as he devoutly calleth to mind the 
mystery of the Incarnation and the Passion of Christ, 
and is inflamed with the love of Him. 

VII. He that prepareth not himself, except only 
when a festival draweth near, or when custom com- 
pelleth him thereunto, shall too often be unprepared. 

Blessed is he that offereth up himself as a whole 
burnt offering to the Lord, as often as he doth either 
administer or receive the Holy Communion. 

* Be not too slow nor yet hurried in celebrating, but 
keep the good accustomed manner of those with whom 
thou livest. 

Thou oughtest not to be tedious, and so troublesome 
to others, but to observe the received custom, according 
to the appointment of our fathers ; and rather to yield 
thyself up to the edification of others, than to thine 
own devotion or feelings. * 



CHAPTER XI 

THAT THE BODY AND BLOOD OF CHRIST AND THE HOLY 
SCRIPTURES ARE MOST NECESSARY UNTO A FAITHFUL SOUL 

The Voice of the Disciple. 

O BLESSED Lord Jesus, how great is the blessedness of 
the devout soul that feasteth with Thee in Thy banquet :, 
where there is set no other food to be eaten but Thy- 
self, the only Beloved, and most to be desired above 
all the desires of the heart ! 

1 Cor. xi. [2326]. 



OF MAN^S SPIRITUAL FOOD AND LIGHT 213 

To me also it would be indeed a blessed things in 
Thy presence to pour forth tears from the very bottom 
of my heart, and with the grateful Magdalene to wash 
Thy feet with tears. \ 

But where now is that devotion ? where that plentiful 
effusion of holy tears ? 

Surely in the sight of Thee and Thy holy Angels, 
my whole heart ought to be inflamed, and even to weep 
for joy. 

For in this Sacrament I have Tliee truly present, 
though hidden under another representation. 

II. For to look upon Thee in Thine own Divine 
brightness, mine eyes would not be able to endure ; nor 
could even the whole world stand in the splendour of 
the glory of Thy Majesty. 

Herein then Thou hast regard to my weakness, 
that Thou dost veil thyself under this Sacramental 
sign. 

Him do I really possess and adore, whom the Angels 
adore in Heaven : I however, for the present and for 
a while, by faith ; but they by sight, and without a 
veil. 

As to me, I ought to be content with the light of 
true faith, and therein to walk, till the day of ever- 
lasting brightness shall dawn, and the shadows of 
figures pass away. 

But when that which is perfect is come, the use of 
Sacraments shall cease ; ^ because the Blessed, in their 
Heavenly Glory, need not any Sacramental remedy : 

For they rejoice without end in the presence of God, 
beholding His glory face to face ; and being trans- 
formed from brightness to brightness, even that of the 
incomprehensible Deity, they taste the Word of God 
nmde flesh, as He was from tlie beginning, and as He 
abideth for ever. 

III. Whilst I think on these wonderful things, it 
becometh heavy and wearisome unto me, even all 
spiritual comfort whatever ; because as long as I behold 

I Luke vii. [38]. 1 Cor. xiii. [10]. 



214 OF THE IMITATION OF CHRIST 

not my Lord openly in His own glory, I account as 
nothing all that I see or hear in this world. 

Thou art my witness, O God, that nothing can 
comfort me, no creature can give me rest, but only 
Thou my God, whom I earnestly desire to contemplate 
everlastingly. 

But this is not possible, so long as I linger in this 
mortality. 

Therefore I must frame myself to much patience ; 
and submit myself to Thee in every desire. 

For even Thy Saints, O Lord, who now rejoice with 
Thee in the kingdom of Heaven, whilst they lived, 
waited in faith and in great patience for the coming of 
Thy glDry.^ 

What they believed, I believe ; what they hoped, I 
hope ; whither they are arrived by Thy grace, I trust 
I shall come. 

In the meantime I will walk in faith, strengthened 
by the examples of the Saints. 

I have also holy books for my comfort and for the 
glass of my life ; and above all these, I have Thy 
most Holy Body and Blood for a singular remedy and 
refuge. 

IV. For I perceive two things to be very particularly 
necessary for me in this life, without which this miser- 
able life would be insupportable unto me. 

Whilst I am detained in the prison of this body, I 
acknowledge myself to stand in need of two things, 
namely, food and light. 

Unto me then thus weak and helpless Thou hast 
given Thy sacred Body, for the refreshment both of my 
soul and body ; ^ and Thy word Thou hast set as a 
lamp unto my feet.^ 

VVithout these two I should not well be able to live ; 
for the word of God is the light of my soul, and Thy 
Sacrament the Bread of life. 

These also may be called the two tables, set on the 

> Heb. X. [35, 36] ; xi. [39, 40]. * John vi. [51]. 

2 Psalm cxix. [105]. 



OF MAN'S SPIRITUAL FOOD AND LIGHT 215 

one side and on the other, in the treasury and jewel- 
house of the Holy Church.^ 

One table is that of the Sacred Altar, having the holy 
bread, that is, the precious Body of Christ ; the other 
is that of the Divine Law, containing holy doctrine, 
teaching men the right faith, and stedfastly leading 
them onward even to that within the veil, where is the 
Holy of Holies. 

Thanks be unto Thee, O Lord Jksu, Thou Light of 
everlasting Light, for that table of sacred doctrine, 
which Thou hast prepared for us by Thy servants the 
Prophets and Apostles and other teachers. 

V. Thanks be unto Thee, O Thou Creator and 
Redeemer of mankind, who to manifest Thy love to 
the whole world, hast prepared a great supper,^ wherein 
Thou hast set before us to be eaten, not the typical 
lamb, but Thine own most sacred Body and Blood ; ^ 
rejoicing all the faithful with this sacred banquet, and 
replenishing them to the full with the Cup of Salvation,'* 
in which are all the delights of Paradise ; and the holy 
Angels do feast with us, but yet with' a more happy 
sweetness. 

VI. O how great and honourable is the office of God's 
Priests ! to whom it is given with sacred words to 
consecrate [the Sacrament of] the Lord of Glory ; 
with their lips to bless, with their hands to hold, with 
their own mouth to receive, and also to administer to 
others. 

O how clean ought those hands to be, how pure that 
mouth, how holy that body, how unspotted that heart, 
where the Author of purity so often entereth ! 

Nothing but what is holy, no word but what is good 
and profitable, ought to proceed from tlie mouth of the 
Priest, of him who so often receiveth the Sacrament of 
Christ. 

VII. Simple and chaste ought to be the eyes that are 

Psalm xxiii. [5]'; Heb. ix. [24], xiii. [10]. 
Luke xiv. [16J. John vi, [5356]. 

* Psalm xxiii. [5] ; Wisd. xvi. [20, 21]. 



216 OF THE IMITATION OF CHRIST 

wont to behold the Body of Christ ; the hands should 
be pure and lifted up to Heaven, that use to touch the 
Creator of Heaven and earth. 

Unto the Priest more especially it is said in the , 
Law, ' Be ye holy, for that I the Lord your God am 
holy/ 1 

VIII. * O Almighty God, do Thou assist us with 
Thy grace, that we who have undertaken the office of 
the Priesthood, may be able to wait on Thee worthily 
and devoutly, in all purity, and with a good conscience. 

And if we live not in so great innocency as we 
ought to do, grant to us at the least worthily to lament 
the sins which we have committed ; and in the spirit of 
humility, and with the full purpose of a good will, to 
serve Thee more earnestly for the time to come. * 



CHAPTER XII 

THAT HE WHO IS ABOUT TO COMMUNICATE WITH CHRIST 
OUGHT TO PREPARE HIMSELF WITH GREAT DILIGENCE 

The Voice of the Beloved. 

I AM the Lover of purity and the Giver of all sanctity. 

I seek a pure heart, and there is the place of my 
rest. 2 

' Make ready for Me a large upper room furnished,' 
and I will keep the passover at thy house with My 
Disciples.' 

If thou wilt have Me come unto thee, and remain 
with thee ; purge out the old leaven,* and make clean 
the habitation of thy heart. 

> Levit. xix. [2], xx. [26]. 

2 Ps. xxiv. [4] ; Matt. v. [8], 

> Mark xiv. [14, 15] ; Luke xxii. [11, 12]. 
1 Cor. V. [7]. 



HEART FIT FOR THE HOLY EUCHARIST 217 

Shut out the wliole world^* and all the throng of 
sins : sit thou as it were a sparrow alone upon the 
house-top, and think over thy transgressions in the 
bitterness of thy soul. 

For every one that loveth will prepare the best and 
fairest place for his beloved ; for herein is known the 
affection of him that entertaineth his beloved. 

II. Know thou notwithstanding, that no merit of 
any action of thine is able to make this preparation 
sufficient, although thou shouldest prepare thyself 
a whole year together, and have nothing else in thy 
mind. 

But it is out of My mere grace and favour that thou 
art permitted to approach My table ; as if a beggar 
were invited to a rich man's dinner, and he hath no 
other return to make to him for his benefits, but to 
humble himself and give him thanks. 

Do what lieth in thee, and do it diligently ; not for 
custom, not for necessity, but with fear and reverence 
and affection, receive the Body and Blood of thy 
beloved Lord God, when He vouchsafeth to come unto 
thee. 

I am He that have called thee, I have commanded 
it to be done, I will supply what is wanting in thee ; 
come thou and receive Me. 

III. ^Vhen I bestow on thee the grace of Devotion, 
give thanks to thy God ; [for it is given thee] not 
because thou art worthy, but because I have had mercy 
on thee. 

If thou have it not, but rather dost feel thyself dry, 
be instant in prayer, sigh and kn4)ck, and give not over 
until thou art meet to receive some crumb or drop of 
saving Grace. 

Thou hast need of Me, I have no need of thee. 

Neither comest thou to sanctify Me, but I come to 
sanctify thee, and make thee better. 

Thou comest that thou mayest be sanctified by Me, 
and united unto Me ; that thou mayest receive new 

Exod. xxiv. [18], 



218 OF THE IMITATION OF CHRIST 

grace, and be stirred up anew to amendment of 
life. 

See tliou neglect not this Grace, but prepare thy 
heart with all diligence, and receive thy Beloved into 
thy soul. 

IV. Thou oug-htest however not only to prepare 
thyself to devotion before Communion, but carefully 
also to preserve thyself therein, after thou hast received 
the Sacrament. 

Nor is the careful guard of thyself afterwards less 
required, than devout preparation before. 

For a good guard afterwards is the best preparation 
again for the obtaining of greater grace. 

For if a person gives himself up at once too much to 
outward consolations, he is rendered thereby exceed- 
ingly indisposed to devotion. 

Beware of much talk,i remain in some secret place, 
and enjoy thy God : for thou hast Him, whom all the 
world cannot take from thee. 

I am He, to whom thou oughtest wholly to give up 
thyself, that so thou mayest now live no longer in 
thyself, but in me, free from all anguish of mind. 



CHAPTER XIII 

THAT THE DEVOUT SOUL OUGHT WITH THE WHOLE HEART 
TO SEEK UNION WITH CHRIST IN THE SACRAMENT 

The Voice of the Disciple. 

Would that I might obtain this favour. Lord, to find 
Thee alone and by Thyself, to open unto Thee my 
whole heart, and enjoy Thee even as my soul desireth ; 
and that henceforth none may look upon me, nor any 
creature move me, nor have regard to me ; but that 

1 Prov. X. [19]. 



HEART FIT FOR THE HOLY EUCHARIST 219 

Thou alone mayest speak unto me, and 1 to Thee, as 
the beloved is v/ont to speak to his beloved, and friend 
to feast with friend.^ 

This I beg, this I long for, that 1 may be wholly 
united unto Thee, and may withdraw my heart from 
all created things, and by means of sacred Communion, 
and the frequent celebrating thereof, may learn more 
and more to relish things heavenly and eternal. 

Ah, Lord God, when shall 1 be wholly united to 
Thee, and absorbed by Thee, and become altogether 
forgetful of myself? 

' Thou in me, and I in Thee ; ' ^ so also grant that 
we may both continue together in one. 

II. Verily, Thou art my Beloved, the Choicest 
amongst thousands,^ in whom my soul is well pleased 
to dwell all the days of her life. 

Verily, Thou art my Peacemaker, in whom is highest 
peace and true rest, out of whom is labour and sorrow 
and infinite misery. 

Verily, Thou art a God that hidest Thyself,* and Thy 
counsel is not with the wicked, but Thy speech is with 
the humble and simple of heart. ^ 

O how sweet is Thy Spirit,^ O Lord, who to the end 
Thou mightest shew forth Thy sweetness toward ITiy 
children, dost vouchsafe to refresh them with the Bread 
which is full of all sweetness, even That which cometh 
down from Heaven. 

Surely there is no other nation so great,^ that hath 
gods so nigh unto them, as Thou our God art present 
to all Thy faithful ones, unto whom for their daily 
comfort, and for the raising up of their hearts to 
Heaven, Thou bestowest ITiyself to bo eaten and 
enjoyed. 

III. For what other nation is there of such high 
renown, as the Christian people.'' 

Or what creature under Heaven is there so beloved, 

> Exod. xxxiii. [11] ; Cant. viii. [1, 2]. 

2 John XV. [4], Cant. v. [10]. 

[Isa. xlv, 15.] Prov. iii. [34], 

Wisd. xii. [IJ. ' Deut. iv. [7]. 



220 OF THE IMITATION OF CHRIST 

as the devout soul, into which God Himself entereth, 
to nourish it with His glorious Flesh ? 

O unspeakable grace ! O admirable condescension ! 
O unmeasurable love specially bestowed on man ! 

But what return shall I make to the Lord for this 
grace,' for charity so unparalleled ? 

There is nothing else that I am able to present more 
acceptable, than to offer my heart wholly to my God, 
and to unite it most inwardly unto Him. 

Then shall all my inward parts rejoice, when my 
soul shall be perfectly united unto God. 

Tlien will He say unto me, ' If thou art willing to 
be with Me, I am willing to be with thee.' 

And I will answer Him, ' Vouchsafe, O Lord, to 
remain with me, I will gladly be with Thee. 

* This is my whole desire, that my heart be united 
unto Thee.' 



CHAPTER XIV 

OF THE FERVENT DESIRE OF SOME DEVOUT PERSONS TO 
RECEIVE THE BODY AND BLOOD OF CHRIST 

The Voice of the Disciple. 
O HOW great is the abundance of Thy sweetness, O 
Lord, which Thou hast laid up for them that fear 
Thee! 2 

When I call to mind some devout persons, who 
approach to Thy Sacrament, O Lord, with the greatest 
devotion and affection, I am oftentimes confounded 
and blush within myself, that I am come with such 
lukewarmness, yea coldness, to Thy Altar and the 
Table of sacred Communion. 

I grieve to think that I remain so dry, and without 

Psalm cxvi. [12]. Psalm xxxi. [19]. 



OF RECEIVING THE HOLY EUCHARIST 221 

affection of heart ; that I am not wholly inflamed in 
Thy presence, O my God, nor so earnestly drawn and 
affected, as many devout persons have been, who out 
of a vehement desire of the Communion, and a feeling 
affection of heart, were unable to restrain themselves 
from weeping ; but with the mouth of their hearts and 
bodies alike, they from their inmost vitals panted after 
Thee, O God, the Fountain of life, not being otherwise 
able to allay or satisfy their hunger, but only by 
receiving Thy Body with all delight and spiritual 
eagerness. 

II. O the truly ardent faith of those persons ! amount- 
ing to a probable evidence of Thy sacred Presence. 

For they truly know their Lord in the breaking of 
bread,^ whose heart within them so vehemently burneth, 
whilst 'ITiou, O blessed Jesu, dost walk and converse 
with them. 

Such affectionateness and devotion as this, love and 
fervency so vehement, are too often far from me. 

Be Thou favourable unto me, O Jesu, merciful, 
sweet and gracious Lord, and grant to me Thy poor 
needy creature, sometimes at least in this Holy Com- 
munion to feel if it be but a small portion of Thy 
hearty affectionate love ; that my Faith may become 
more strong, my Hope in Thy goodness may be in- 
creased, and that Charity once perfectly kindled within 
me, after the tasting of this Heavenly Manna, may 
never decay. 

HI. Thy mercy however js well able to grant me even 
the Grace which I long for, and, in the day when it 
shall please Thee, to visit me most benignantly with 
the Spirit of fervour. 

For although I burn not with desire vehement as 
theirs who are so especially devoted unto Thee, yet 
notwithstanding, by Thy Grace, I have a desire for this 
great inflamed desire, praying and longing that I may 
participate with all such Tliy fervent lovers, and be 
numbered among them in their holy company. 

I Lukexxiv [32,35]. 



222 OF THE IMITATION OF CHRIST 



CHAPTER XV 

THAT THE GRACE OF DEVOTION IS OBTAINED BY 
HUMILITY AND DENIAL OP OURSELVES 

The Voice of the Beloved. 

Thou oughtest to seek the grace of Devotion earnestly, 
to ask it fervently, to wait for it with patience and con- 
fidence, to receive it with gratefulness, to keep it 
humbly, to work with it diligently, and to commit the 
term and manner of this heavenly visitation to God, 
until it shall please Him to come unto thee. 

Thou oughtest especially to humble thyself, when 
thou feelest inwardly little or no devotion ; but yet not 
to be too much dejected, nor to grieve inordinately. 

God often giveth in one short moment, that which 
He for a long time denied ; He giveth sometimes in the 
end, that which in the beginning of thy prayer He 
deferred to give. 

II. If Grace should be always presently given, and 
should be at hand ever with a wish, weak man could 
not well bear it. 

Therefore the grace of Devotion is. to be waited for, 
with, good hope and humble patience. 

Nevertheless, do thou impute it to thyself, and to 
thine own sins, when this grace is not given thee, or 
when it is secretly taken away. 

It is sometimes but a small matter that hindereth 
and hideth Grace from us ; at least if any thing can be 
called small, and not rather a weighty matter, which 
obstructeth so great a good. 

And if thou remove this, be it great or small, and 
perfectly overcome it, thou wilt have thy desire. 

III. For immediately, as soon as thou givest thyself 
to God from thy whole heart, and seekest neither this 
nor that, according to thine own pleasure or will, but 
settlest thyself wholly in Him, thou shalt find thyself 



SELF-DENIAL IN PRACTICE OF DEVOTION 223 

united and at peace ; for nothing can afford so sweet a 
relish, nothing be so delightful, as the good pleasure of 
the Divine will. 

^V^hosoever therefore, with a single heart lifts up his 
intention to God, and keeps himself clear of all in- 
ordinate liking or disliking of any created thing, he 
shall be the most lit to receive Grace, and meet for the 
gift of true Devotion. 

For the Lord bestoweth His blessings there, where 
He findeth the vessels empty. 

And the more perfectly a person forsaketh these low 
things, and the more he by contempt of himself dieth 
to himself, so much the more speedily Grace cometh, 
the more plentifully doth it enter in, and the higher 
doth it lift up the free heart. 

IV. Then shall he see, and flow together, and wonder, 
and his heart shall be enlarged ^ within him, because 
the hand of the Lord is with him, and he hath put 
himself wholly into His baud, even for ever and 
ever. 

Behold, thus shall the man be blessed, who seeketh 
God with his whole heart, and receiveth not his soul in 
vain. 

This man in receiving the Holy Eucharist, obtaineth 
the great Grace of Divine Union ; because it is not to 
his own devotion and comfort that he hath regard, but 
above all devotion and comfort to the honour and glory 
of God. 

Isa, Ix. [5], 



224 OF THE IMITATION OF CHRIST 



CHAPTER XVI 

THAT WE OUGHT TO LAY OPEN OUR NECESSITIES TO 
CHRIST AND TO CRAVE HIS GRACE 

The Voice of the Disciple. 

O THOU most sweet and loving Lord, whom I now 
desire to receive with all devotion. Thou knowest mine 
infirmities, and the necessities which I endure ; in how 
great evils and sins I am involved ; how often I am 
weighed down, tempted, disturbed, and defiled by 
them. 

Unto Thee I come for remedy, I entreat of Thee 
consolation and support. 

I speak to Thee, who knowest all things, to whom 
all my inward thoughts are open, and who alone canst 
perfectly comfort and help me. 

Thou knowest what good things I stand in most need 
of, and how poor I am in all virtue. 

II. Behold, I stand before Thee poor and naked, 
calling for grace, and imploring mercy. 

Refresh Thy hungry supplicant, inflame my coldness 
with the fire of Thy love, enlighten my blindness with 
the brightness of Thy presence. 

Do Thou for me turn all earthly things into bitterness, 
all things grievous and contrary into patience, all low 
and created things into contempt and oblivion. 

Lift up my heart to Thee in Heaven, and send me 
not away to wander over the earth. 

Be Thou alone sweet unto me, from henceforth for 
evermore ; for Thou alone art my meat and drink, my 
love and my joy, my sweetness and all my good. 

III. O that with Thy Presence Thou wouldest wholly 
inflame, consume, and transform me into Thyself ; that 
I might be made one Spirit with Thee,' by the grace of 
inward Union, and by the meltings of ardent love ! . 



1 Cor. vi. [17]. 



HOLY LONGING FOR CHRIST'S PRESENCE 225 

Suffer me not to go away from Thee hungry and dry, 
but deal mercifully with me, as oftentimes Thou hast 
dealt wonderfully with Thy saints. 

^Vliat marvel is it if I should he wholly inflamed by 
Thee, and of myself decay and come to nothing ; since 
Thou art Fire always burning and never decaying, 
Love purifying the heart, and enlightening the under- 
standing. 



CHAPTER XVII 

OP FERVENT LOVE AND VEHEMENT DESIRE TO RECEIVE 

CHRIST 

The Voice of the Disciple. 

With deep devotion and ardent love, with all affection 
and fervour of heart, I desire to receive Thee, O Lord, 
as many Saints and devout persons have desired Thee, 
' when they were partakers of Thy Holy Communion ; 
who in holiness of life were to Thee most pleasing, and 
who in devotion also were most fervent. 

O my God, everlasting Love, my whole Good, 
Happiness which can have no limit, I do desire to 
receive Thee with the most earnest affection, and the 
most suitable awe and reverence, that any of the Saints 
ever had, or could feel toward Thee. 

II. And although I be unworthy to entertain all those 
feelings of devotion, nevertheless I offer unto Thee the 
whole affection of my heart, as if I were the only person 
who had all those most grateful, most ardent longings 
after Thee. 

Yea, and all that a dutiful mind can conceive and 
desire, I do, with the deepest reverence and most inward 
affection, offer and present unto Thee. 

Q 



226 OF THE IMITATION OF CHRIST 

I desire to reserve nothing to myself, but freely and 
most cheerfully to sacrifice unto Thee myself and all 
that is mine. 

O Lord my God^ my Creator and my Redeemer, I do 
desire to receive Thee this day, with such affection, 
reverence, praise and honour, with such gratitude, 
worthiness and love with such faith, hope and purity, 
as Thy most holy Mother, the glorious Virgin Mary, 
received and desired Thee, when to the Angel who 
declared unto her glad tidings of the mystery of the 
Incarnation, she humbly and devoutly answered, 
' Behold the handmaid of the Lord, be it unto me 
according to Thy word.' ^ 

III. And as Thy blessed forerunner, the most excel- 
lent among the Saints, John Baptist, rejoicing in Tliy 
presence, leaped for joy of the Holy Ghost, whilst he 
was yet shut up in his mother's womb ; ^ and afterwards 
seeing Jesus walking among men, humbled himself 
very greatly, and said with devout affection, * The 
friend of the bridegroom that standeth and heareth 
him, rejoiceth greatly because of the bridegroom's 
voice ; ' ^ in like manner do I also wish to be inflamed 
with great and holy desires, and to offer myself up 
to Thee from my whole heart. 

Wherefore also for myself, and for all such as are 
commended to me in prayer, I offer and present unto 
Thee the triumphant joys, the ardent affections, the 
mental ecstacies, the supernatural illuminations and 
celestial visions of all devout hearts, with all the virtues 
and praises celebrated and to be celebrated by all 
creatures in Heaven, and in earth ; tliat by all Thou 
mayest worthily be praised and glorified for ever. 

IV. Receive, O Lord my God, my wishes and desires 
of giving Thee infinite praise, and blessing that hath 
no bounds, which according to the measure of Thine 
ineffable greatness, are most justly due unto Thee. 

These praises I render unto Thee, and long to render 

Luke i. [38]. Luke i. [44], 

' John ill. [29] 



OF SUBJECTING REASON TO FAITH 227 

them every day and every moment. And with all 
entreaty and affectionateness I do invite and beseech 
all Heavenly spirits, and all Thy faithful servants, to 
render with me thanks and praises unto Thee. 

V. Let all people, nations, and languages praise 
Thee,i and magnify Thy holy and most delicious Name 
^ith highest exultation and ardent devotion. 

And let all who reverently and devoutly celebrate 
Thy most high Sacrament, and receive It with full faith, 
be accounted worthy to find grace and mercy at Thy 
hands, and pray with humble supplication in behalf of 
me a sinner. 

And when they shall have attained to their desired 
devotion, and joyful Union with Thee, and shall have 
departed from Thy Holy Heavenly Table, well com- 
forted and marvellously refreshed, may they vouch- 
safe to remember poor me. 



CHAPTER XVIII 

THAT A MAN SHOULD NOT BE A CURIOUS SEARCHER INTO 
THE HOLY SACRAMENT, BUT AN HUMBLE FOLLOWER 
OF CHRIST, SUB3IITTING HIS SENSE TO DIVINE FAITH. 

The Voice of the Beloved. 
Thou oughtest to beware of curious and unprofitable 
searching into this most profound Sacrament, if thou 
wilt not be plunged into the depths of doubt. 

'He that is a searcher of My Majesty, shall be over- 
powered by the glory of it : ' ^ God is able to work 
more than man can understand. 

A dutiful and humble enquiry after the Truth, is 

Psalm cxvii. Prov. xxv. [27. Lat. vers.] 



228 OF THE IMITATION OF CHRIST 

allowable, provided we be always ready to be taught, 
and that we study to walk according to the sound 
opinions of the Fathers. 

II. It is a blessed simplicity when a man leaves the 
difficult ways of questions and disputings, and goes on 
forward in the plain and firm path of God's command- 
ments. 

Many have lost devotion, whilst they sought to 
search into things too high. 

Faith is required at thy hands, and a sincere life ; 
not height of understanding, nor the depth of the 
mysteries of God. 

If thou dost not understand, nor conceive the things 
that are beneath thee, how shalt thou comprehend those 
which are above thee .'' 

Submit thyself unto God, and humble thy sense to 
faith, and the light of knowledge shall be given thee, in 
such degree as shall be profitable and necessary for 
thee. 

III. Some are grievously tempted about faith and the 
Holy Sacrament ; but this is not to be imputed to 
themselves, but rather to the enemy. 

Be not thou anxious herein ; do not dispute with 
thine own thoughts, nor give any answer to doubts 
suggested by the devil ; but trust the words of God, 
trust His Saints and Prophets, and the wicked enemy 
will flee from thee. 

It oftentimes is very profitable to the servant of God 
to endure such things. 

For the devil teinpteth not unbelievers and sinners, 
whom he hath already secure possession of ; but faith- 
ful and religious devout persons he in various ways 
temj)teth and disquieteth. 

IV. Go forward therefore with simple and undoubt- 
ing faith, and with the reverence of a supplicant draw 
thou near to the Holy Sacrament ; and whatsoever 
thou art not able to understand, commit securely to 
Almighty God. 

God deceiveth thee not ; he is deceived that trusteth 
too much to himself. 



OF SUBJECTING REASON TO FAITH 229 

God walketh with the simple,^ revealeth Himself to 
the humble^ giveth understanding to the little ones, 
opeueth the sense to pure minds, and hideth Grace 
from the curious and proud. 

Human reason is feeble and may be deceived, but 
true Faith cannot be deceived. 

V. All reason and natural search ought to follow 
Faith, not to go before it, nor to break in upon it. 

For Faith and Love do here specially take the lead, 
and work in hidden ways, in this most holy, most 
supremely excellent Sacrament. 

God, who is eternal, and incomprehensible, and of 
infinite power, doeth things great and unsearchable in 
Heaven and in earth, and there is no tracing out of 
His marvellous works. 

If the works of God were such, as that they might be 
easily comprehended by human reason, they could not 
be justly called marvellous or unspeakable. 

> Psalm xix. [7], cxix. [130] ; Matt. xi. [25], 



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THE W^ORLD'S CLASSICS 



LIST OF THE SERIES 

r^ ftgura i faretttheses denote tht number of the book in the ttria 

Aeschylus. The Seven Plays. Trans, by the late Lewis CAMrnELi-. (117) 
Ainsworth ("W. Harri.son). The Tower of London. (162) 
A Kempis (Thomas). Of the Imitation of Christ. (49) 
Aristophanes. Frere's translation of the Acharnians, Knights, Birds. 

and Frogj. Introduction by W. W. Merkt. (134) 
Arnold (Matthew). Poems. Intro, by Sir A. T. Quillkr-Couch. (85) 
Aurelius (Marcus). The Thoughts. A new translation by Johm 

Jackson. (60) 
Austen (Jane). Emma. Introduction by E. V. LuCAS. (129) 
Bacon. The Advancement of Learning, and the New Atlantis. Intro- 
dsction by Professor Cask. (93) 
Essays. (24) 
.Barham. The Ingoldsby Legends. (9) 
BarroAV (Sir John). The Mutiny of the Bounty. Introduction Iby 

Admiral Sir Cypriak BRIOGK. (igs) 
Betham-Edwards (M.) The Lord of the Harvest. Introduction by 

Frkderic Harrison. (194) 
Blackxnore (R. D.). Lorna Doone. Intro, by T. H. Warren. (171) 
Borrow. The Bible in Spain. (75) 
Lavengro. (66^ 
Th Romany Rye. (73) 
Bronte Sisters. 

Charlotte Bronte. Jane Eyre, (i) 
Shirley. (14) 
Villette. (47) 

The Profesisor, and the Poems of Charlotte, Emily, and Annt 
Bronte introduction by Thkodore Watts-Dunton. (78) 
Emily Bronte. Wuthering Heights, (ro) 
Anne Bronte. Agnes Grey. (141) 
The Tenant of Wildfell Hill. (67) 
BroTrn (Dr. John). Horae Subsecirae. Intro.by ADSTInDobson. (ill) 
Browning (Elizabeth Barrett). Poems : A Selection. (176) 
Brovening (Robert). Potms and Plays, 1833-1842. (58) 

Poems, 1842-1864. (137) 
Buckle. The History of Ciyilization in England. 3 voli. (41, 48, 53) 
Banyan. The Pilgrim's Progress. (12) , 

Burke. Works. 6 volt. 

Vol. I. Genera! Introduction by Judge Willis and Preface by F W. 

RArrKTT. (7i> 
V.U. II. IV, V. VI PrafacM by F. W. Raffit?. (i. 112-114^ 
V;. Ui. rrtiacc by 7. H. WILUi. (ai) 



THE WORLDS CLASSICS 



List of the Series confinufd 

Burns. Poems C54) 

Butler. The Analogy oJ Religion. Edited, trttb Notes, by W. a 

Oladstonb. (136) 
Byron. Poems : A Selection. (180) 
Carlyle. On Heroes and Hero-Worshlp. (62) 

Past and Present. Introduction by G. K. ChbSTSRTO.N. (153) 

Sartor Resarli.s. (19) 

The French Revolution. Introduction by C. R. L. Flktcher. i Tola. 

(125, 126) 
The Life ol John Sterling. Introduction by W. Hali Wnrre. (144) 
Cervantes. DonQuixote. Translated by C. Jkrvas. Intro, and Notes by 
J. Fitzmaurick-Kfllt. j toIs. With a frontispiece. (130,131) 
Chaucer. The Canterbury Tales. (76) 

The Works of. From the text of Professor Skeat. 3 vols. Vol. I (42); 
Vol. II (56); Vol. Ill, containing the whole of the Canterbury 
Tales (76) 
Cobbold. Margaret Catchpole. Intro, by CLKMKtrr Shohtkr. (119) 
Coleridge. Poems. Introduction by Sir A. T. Qijii.ler-Col'CH (g^) 
Cooper (T. Fnimore). The Last of ths Mohicans (163) 
Cowper, Letters. Selected, with Introduction, by E. V. Li;ca9. (138) 
Dar-win. The Origin of Species. With Nolo by G.'^ant Allen, (hi 
Defoe. Captain Singleton. Intro, by Th*odore Watts-Du.stoji. (82) 

Robinson Crusoe. (17) 
De Quincey. Confessions of an English Opium-Kater. (13) 
Dickens. Great Expectations. With 6 Ilhistratioas by W<iR\V!ca 
GOBLB. (iz8) 
Oliver Twist. (8) 
Pickwick Papers. With 43 lUuitrationa by Skiuodr and - Phiz, a 

Tolt, (120, 121) 
Tale o( Two Cities. (38) 
Dryden. TransL-^tion of Virgil. (37) 
Duffcrin (Lord). Letters from High LatitudM. lUueUated. Witl> 

Introduction by R. \V. Macan. (158) 
Eliot (George). Adam Bede. (63) 

Felix Holt. Introduction by Viola Meynsi.l. (179) 

Romola. Introduction by Viola Mstniili- (178) 

Scenes of Clerical Life. Introduction by A.n.nie MA'riiE.'ON. (155) 

Silas Marner, The Lifted Veil, and Brother Jacob. Introduction by 

Theodorb Watts-Duntom. (80) 
The Mill on the Float. (31) 
Emerson. English Trails, and RepresentatlTe Mea, (ja) 

Essays. Fimt and Second Se.-ie8. (61 
EnglUb Critical Essays (Nineteenth C^nlory). Selected ani Edited 
by EoMcno O. JONia. (sobi 



THE WORLDS CLASSICS 



List of the Series conitnueci 

English Essayi. Chosen and arranged by W. PSACOCK. (jt) 
Enf^lish Essays, 1600-1900 (Book of). Choien by S. V. Makowkk 

anJ B. H. Blackwkll. (172) 
English Letter*. (Fifteenth to Nineteenth CenturiM.) Selected and 

edited by li. DUCKITT and H. Wragg. (192) 

English Prose from Mandeville to Ruskin. Chosen and 

arranged by W. i'BACOcit (45) 

English Prose: Narrative, Descriptive, and Draroatic. 

Selected by H. A. Trbl. (204) 
English Short Stories. Selected. (Nineteenth Century.) Introiluction 

by Prof. Hugh Walker. (193) 
Eniglish Songs and Ballads. Compiled by T. W. H. Crosland. (13) 
English Speeches, .from Biirke to Gladstone. Selected by 

KnOAR R jo.vss, M.P. (191) 
Fielding. J.mrnalof a Voyage to Lisbon, etc Introduction and Notes by 

AUSTIJ* DOBSON. 1' Illustrations. (142) 
Gait (John). Vhe Entail. Introduction by John Atscouoh. (177) 
Gaskell (Mrs.). Introductions by Ci.kmcst Shortkr. 
Cousin Phillis, and other Tales, etc. (168) 
Cranford, The Cage at Cranford, and The Moorland Cottage, (no) 

Tbo 'Cage' has not hitherto been reprinted. 
LIstis Leijh, The Grey Woman, and other Tales, etc. (175) 
Mary Barton. (86) 
North and South. (154) 
Sight at Last, and other Tales, etc. (aoj) 
Round the Sofa, (fjo) 
Ruth. (II) 
STJYia's L,ocrs. (156) 
WiTCS and Daughters. (157) 
Olbbon. UvcUne and Fall of the Raman Enrtpire. With Maps. 7 vols. 

(35. I*. SI. 55. 64, (x. 74) 
Autobiography. Introduction by J. B. BURT. (139) 

Goethe. Faust, Pari I (wi'h Mailowes Dr. Faustus). Translated by 

John Anstkr. Introduction by Sir A. W. Ward. (135) 
Goldsmith. Poems. Introduction and Notes by Austin DuBSOli. (iij) 

The Vicar of WakeBeld. (4) 
Grant (James). The Captain of the Guard. (159) 
HavTthorne. Th Scarlet Letter. (26) 
Hazlitt Characters of Shakespeare's Plays. Intro luction by Sir A. T. 

QUILLEK-COI'CH. (2.>.s) 

Lectures on the English Comio Writerv Introduction by R. Bbiui 1 
JOHKSOH. (1241 

Sketches and Essays (15) 

Sp'rii of 'be Age. C57) 

Tabio-Talk. (5) 

Winterslow. (25) 
Herbert (George), foems. introduction *t)> ArUB Woo. . lu^ 
Kerrick. tVems (16) 



THE WORLD'S CLASSICS 



List of the Series continued 

Holmes (Oliver ^^endell). The Autocrat of the Breakfast-Table, (6i) 
The Poet at the Breakfast-Table. Introduction by Sir W. ROBERTSON 

NiCOLL. (QS) 
The Professor at the Breakfast-Table. Introduction by Sir W. ROBKRT- 
SOK NiCOLL. {89) 

Homer. Iliad. Translated by Pope, (it) 
Odyssey. Translated by Pope. (36) 

Hood. Selected Poems. Intrciduction by Waltkr Jerrold. (87) 

Home (R. H.). A New Spirit of the Age. Intro. W. Jerrolo. (1*7) 

Hume. Essays. (33) 

Hunt (Leigh). Essays and Sketches. Introduction by R. Bkimlkt 
Johnson. (115) 
The Town. Introduction and Xotet by AUSTIN DoBSON, and a 
Frontispiece. (132) 
Irving (Washington). The Conquest of Granada. (150) 

The Sketch-Book of Geoffrey Crayon, Gent. Introduction by T. 
Balston. (173) 

/errold (Douglas). Mrs. Caudle's Curtain Lectures, Mr. Caudle's Break- 
fast Talk, and other Stories and Essays. Introduction by Walter 
JXRROLD, and 90 Illustrations by Ksbnb, LKSCH,and DOTLE. (122) 

Johnson. Lives of the English Poet*. Introduction by ARTHUR 
Waugh. 2 vols. (83, 84) 

Keats. Poems. (7) 

Keble. The ChrlsUan Year. (181) 

Lamb. Essays of Elia, and The Last Essays of Elia. (s) 

Landor. Imaginary Conversations. Selected with Introdnction by 
Prof. B. DB SfLINCOURT. (igfi) 

Lesage. Gil Bias. Translated by T. Smollkti, with Introduction and 
Notes by J. Fitzmaurice-Kkllt. 2 vols. (151, 152) 

Letters, Selected English. (Fifteenth to Nineteenth Centuries.) Edited 
by iVI. DucKiTT and H. Wragg. (192) 

Letters written in War Time. (Fifteenth to Nineteenth Centuries.) ' 
Selected by H. Wragg. (202) 

Longfellow. Evangeline, The Golden Legend, etc. (39) 

Hiawatha, Miles Standish, Tales of a Wayside Inn, etc. {174) 

Lytton. Harold. With 6 Illustrations by Charles Burton. (i6j) 

Macaulay. Lays of Ancient Rome ; Ivry ; The Armada. (27) 

Machiavelli. The Prince. Translated by LciQl Ricci. (43) 

Marcus Aurelius. See Aurelius. 

Marlowe. Dr. Faustus (with Goethe's Faust, Part I). Introduction by 
Sir A. W. Ward. (135) 

Marryat. Mr. Midshipman Easy. (160) 

The King's Own. With 6 Illustrations by Warwick GOBI.b. (164) 
Mill (John Stuart). On Liberty, Representative Government, and 

the Subjection of Women. Intro. Mrs. Fawcett. (170) 
Milton. The English Poems. (182) 

Montaigne. Essays. Translated by J. FLORIO. 3 vols. (65, 70, 77) 
Morris (MT.). The Defence of Gainevere, Jason, etc. (183) 
Motley. Rite of the Dutch Republic. IntreductioD by Clehbkt 

SaOSTRR. I vols. {qit. 97. 93) 



THE WORLD'S CLASSICS 



List of the Series continued 

Nekrassov. Who can b happy and free in Russia f A Foem. 

Trans, by Juliet Soskic*. (si 3) 
Palgrave. The Golden Treasury. With additional Poems, including 

KitzGeraLD'S translation of Omar Khayyam. (133) 

Peacock (AV.). English Prose from Mandeville to Raskin. (45) 
Selected English Essays. (32) 

Poe (Edgar Allan). Tales of Mystsry and Imginatioa. (si) 

Pope. Iliad of Homer (18). Odyssey of Homer (36) 

Porter (Jane). The Scottish Chiefs. (161) 

Prescott CW. H.). History of the Conquest of Mezlc*. Intioductlon 

by Mrs. Alec-Twkedib. a vols. (197. 198) 
Reid (Mayne). The Rifle Rangers. With 6 illustraiions by J. L. Sur- 

CLIrFE. (iDOJ 

The Scalp Hunters. With 6 Illustrations by A. H. COLLINB. (167) 
Reynolds (Sir Joshua). The Discovirses, and the Letters t "The 

Idler.' Introduction by Austin Dobson. (149) 
Rosaetti (Christina). Goblin Market, The Prince's Progress, and other 

Poems. (184) 
Rossetti (D. G.). Poems and Translations, 1850-1870. (185) 
Ruskin. (Ruikin House Editions, by arrangemtnt with Uasrt. Allen 
and Unwiit, Ltd.) 

'A Joy for Ever,' and The Two Paths. Illustrated. (147) 

Sesame and Lilies, and The Ethics of the Dust. (145) 

Time and Tide, and The Crown of Wild Olive. (146) 

Unto this Last, and Munera Fulveris. (14S) 
Scott. Ivan hoe. (jq) 

Lives of the Novelists. Introduction by AUSTIN Do30Jl. (94) 

Poems. A SeSection. (186) 

Selected Speeches on British Foreign Policy <I738-I9i4). 
Edited by Edoas R. Jones, M. P. (201) 

Shakespeare. Plays and Poems. With a Preface by A. C. Swinbur.sb 
and general Introductions to the several plays and poems by 
Edwaru DowDJiN, and a Note by T. Watts-Duniow on th 
special typoi^rsphical fsatures of this Edition. 9 Tola. 
Comedies. 3 vols. (loo, loi, 102) 
Histories and Poems. 3 vole. (103,104,105) 
Trageiiies. 3 vols. (io6, 107, jo8) 

Shakespeare's Contemporaries. Six Plays by Beaumont and 
FLETCHER, Dekker, Wegster, and Massinger. Edited by 
C. B. Wheeler. (lyg) 

Sbakespeareau Criticism. A Selection. (Seventeenth to Nineteencli 
Centuries. Edited, with Introduction, by D. NiciiOL Smith, (.iiz) 

Shelley. Poems. A Selection. (187) 

Sheridan. Plays, Introduction by Joseph Knight. (79) 

Smith (Adam). The Wealth of Nations, i vols. (54, 59) 

Smith (Alexander). Dreamthorp, with Selections from Last Leavet 
Introduction by Prof. Hugh Walkitil (200) 

Smollett. Travels through France and Italy. Introduction by THOMAS 
Sbccumbs. (qo) 

Sophocles. T^9 Soven Play*. Traoa. Lswii Campbell. (116) 



THE 'WORLDS CLASSICS 



List of the Seriesconiinued 

Soutbey (Robert). Letters Selected, with a Introduction and 

Notes, by Maurick H. FitzGesald. (169) 
Sterne. Tristram Shandy. (40) 
Swift. Gullivers Travels, (20) 
Taylor (Meadows). Confessions o( a Thug, (ttf/) 
Tennyson (Lord). Poems. (3) 

TbacUeray. Book of Snobs, Sketches and Travels in London, *c. (50) 
Henry bsmond. (a8) 
Pendennis. Introduction by Edmund GossE. 1 vols. (91,92) 

Thoreau. Walden. Introduction by THSODOaB Watts-Dunto.n. (68) 

Tolstoy. Esiays and Letters. Translated by AYLMSK Maudb. (46) 
Twenty-three Tales. Translated by L. and A. MAtJOR, (72) 
The Cossacks. Translated by L. and A Maude (20B) 
Resurrection. Trans. L. Maudk. Iniro. A. Mauok. (209) 
Anna Karenina. Trans. Atlukr Maude. 2 vols. (210,211) 

Trollope. The Three Clerks. Intro, by W. TeiQNMOUTH SUOR (140) 

Virgil. Translated by Drvdrn. (57) 

Watts-Dunton (Theodore). Aylwin. (52) 

Wells (Charles). Joseph and his Brethren. With an Introduction by 
Algernon Charles Swinburne, and a Note on Rossetti and 
Charles Wells by Thkodors Watts-Dunton. (143) 

White (Gilbert). The Natural History of Selborne. (aa) 

Whittier. Poems. A Selection. (188) 

Words'worth. Poems : A Selection. (189) 

Volumti in Preparation. 
Gaskell, Mrs. Life of Charlotte Bronte. (214) 
ICeitli. liiitish Colonial Policy. 3 vols. (215) (216) 
TroUopc. The Warden, (aiy) 



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